Studio Swine extends collection
of products made from hair

| 5 comments

Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves of Studio Swine have revisited the process they developed to make optical frames from human hair to create a new range of accessories (+ movie).

Hair Highway by Studio Swine

Studio Swine developed a technique to infuse hair in natural resin as an alternative to wood while studying at London's Royal College of Art.

Hair Highway by Studio Swine



"We are interested in the future of resources," the duo told Dezeen. "Hair is one of the few natural resources that is increasing globally. Hair grows sixteen times faster than the trees used for tropical hardwood which can take 300 years to reach maturity."

Hair Highway by Studio Swine

For the Hair Highway project, the designers travelled to China to visit a hair market in Shandong and film parts of the hair trade.

Hair Highway by Studio Swine

"Since working with hair we have always wanted to follow the route back to the factories that process it, the traders that take it to market and the people that grow and sell it," they explained.

Hair Highway by Studio Swine

Exploring the potential of this abundant natural material, Studio Swine created a series of accessories to show off its properties and change preconceptions about using human hair in products.

Hair Highway by Studio Swine

"We are used to wearing silk, which comes from insects, and wool which is sheep hair – human hair too has that moment where it becomes dehumanised," the designers said.

Hair Highway by Studio Swine

They created a series of decorative pieces, which includes smaller items like a set of decorative boxes, vases and trinket holders, as well as a large inlayed screen and the base for a combined mirror and dressing table.

Hair Highway by Studio Swine

Asian hair was chosen specifically because it "grows faster, is better quality, and thicker than European hair", according to the studio.

Hair Highway by Studio Swine

The hair is sorted, brushed and packed in the factories, then dyed and bundled before shipping.

Hair Highway by Studio Swine

To create the items, the strands were laid out flat in a thin layer and coloured resin was poured over the top.

Hair Highway by Studio Swine

Once set into a solid block, the material acts like tropical hardwood. It was sawed into sections and glued back together to create patterns from the different colours.

Hair Highway by Studio Swine

The simple shapes of the pieces were influenced by the art-deco architecture and design found in Shanghai.

Hair Highway by Studio Swine

"We were inspired by the geometric lines of Shanghai Deco style," said the duo. "The 1930s were a golden age in Shanghai and it is still an aesthetic that is intrinsically linked with its character."

Hair Highway by Studio Swine

The project and items was presented by Pearl Lam Galleries at Design Miami/Basel earlier this month, where Studio Job showed a highway maintenance-themed furniture collection and Konstantin Grcic used seven tailgate doors from Audi TT sports cars to create a mobile pavilion.

Hair Highway by Studio Swine

Studio Swine's resource-based research has also lead the designers to create a mobile foundry used it to cast aluminium stools from drinks cans and a machine that transforms plastic picked up by fishing trawlers into chairs on board the boats.

  • tin

    These pieces are not made from hair, they are made from resin! And the way the hair is used doesn’t even utilize the strength of hair. If it is only used for decoration you can mix anything into the resin.

    And I doubt that “the material acts like tropical hardwood”. I mean you can cut and glue it, well, but resin behaves quite differently! Very well-shot video that is not telling me anything about the real hair highway. It’s not even the fact that it’s human hair that is bothering me, but this is a really wrong project.

    • whatdidijustread

      What?

    • Tao Chan

      I read about the project, it’s more about the concept of the most fastest growing material that almost achieved a currency status. But this projects reflects on the possibilities.

    • Don

      I think it’s about both the resin and the hair, after all carbon fibre products are really made from resin as well but we call it “carbon fiber”. The material is a composite of both and looks really unique. I learnt a lot about the ‘Hair Highway’ with this project.

  • Doris

    So many layers to this project and the final products are brilliant! Well done Studio Swine!