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Studio Swine's Sea Chair: Into The Gyre

Using solar ovens and a 3D printer, two designers turn ocean clogging plastic to furniture

by Katie Olsen in Design on 23 September 2014

Environmentalism, Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Ocean Pollution, Plastics, Recycling, Upcycling


After creating the award-winning Sea Chair (made from discarded plastic washed up on beaches), London-based design duo Studio Swine has decided to take their project to the next level. Not content with the attention they have already drawn to the disastrous reality of plastic ocean pollution, artist Alexander Groves and architect Azusa Murakami decided to take their project to the source of the Sea Chair project: the high seas.


Sea Chair was born out of the realization that plastic waste is choking the globe's oceans—all of them. Since the 1997 discovery of the Great Pacific garbage patch (a clump of floating debris and trash trapped by the water's current, estimated to be twice the size of Texas), more gyres have been found in the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans. The Studio Swine team now has the opportunity to visit the North Atlantic gyre aboard the Sea Dragon, a research vessel populated by scientists and ecologists collecting information about plastic in the sea. And they want to make Sea Chairs on board. Not only will the collective effort continue to raise awareness, but they will take dumped plastic from the sea and make something useful with it. The duo has designed a solar-powered oven to "cook" the plastic and will produce the chairs using a 3D printer—all onboard the ship.


Donations of just £5 result in an illustrated manual explaining how to make your very own Sea Chair, while all other rewards are made with sea plastic that the design duo will be collecting during the trip from trawl nets, fishing boats and beach cleans. Visit the Sea Chair Kickstarter to find out more about the admirable project.

Images courtesy of Studio Swine

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LOCAL ICONS: Reviving Industry with Apparel

The young Czech label introduces design-forward basics, each made in a different local factory

by Adam Stech in Style on 22 September 2014

Basics, Czech Republic, Fashion, Fashion Design, Prague, Style


During Mercedes-Benz Prague Fashion Weekend, fashion editor Veronika Ruppert—along with fashion business insider Katarina Kral—presented a new project called LOCAL ICONS. The small yet impressive installation inside Prague's Charles University revealed several garments and accessories straight from the factories of traditional Czech producers that have been all but forgotten by the current generation. We spoke with Ruppert to learn more about the project that's aiming to resurrect the Czech fashion industry.

How did the project begin?

The idea came after months of observation and interviews with local people at Czech factories. I noticed a lot of quality, good looking, basic pieces which could work not just with the traditional customers of these brands in smaller towns, but also with young people from big cities who care about local production and are interested in the way the items are made, as well as the stories behind them.

Who makes up the LOCAL ICONS team?

I had the basic idea for the project, but was looking for someone to work with on it. I admire Katarina Kral's work with Czech Labels & Friends and the City Souls project, so I was happy she agreed to work with me on LOCAL ICONS. Another important part of the team is the graphic designer Jakub Samek from Mütanta, Romik from Shot Rabbit who created the website and photographer Adam Křena.

Our goal is quality local basics that are relevant across changing seasons and generations. We like a slow fashion concept.
Where is the project at currently?

September is our first month trying out the project on a larger scale. We presented seven factories at Mercedes-Benz Prague Fashion Weekend and started to sell the first batch of selected products from five of them at Labels & Friends in Prague. Items include black and white unisex turtlenecks from Jitex, fez hats and berets from Tonak, women's and men's collared shirts from Vavi, clutches and notebook bags from Elega and elegant leather gloves from Napa. We choose everyday essentials with clean and simple designs which are easy to combine. We don't think about them in terms of collections—our goal is quality local basics [that are] relevant across changing seasons and generations. We like a slow fashion concept.

What is it like collaborating with companies who aren't really in touch with the contemporary fashion scene and styles?

They are actually not as disconnected as it seems—and they are very positive about the collaboration. The Czech factories were just out of media focus for a while, so people weren't so aware of great local items. But, for example, Vavi already works with young designers— same as Elega. Botas 66 is a great example of an intelligent redesign connected with new marketing and sales strategies. And Moleda, who does the Prestige sneakers, collaborated this year with the well-known Czech designer Jakub Polanka. The factories are open to new projects, but they need to see results in sales, of course.

How do you distribute products? Where are they sold?

So far, you can find LOCAL ICONS in Labels & Friends shop in Prague. After we launched the project at Mercedes-Benz Prague Fashion Weekend, we got a few positive reactions from other shops in Prague and Brno. If everything goes well, LOCAL ICONS will spread to more places.

Explore the full LOCAL ICONS collection online and stay tuned for future collaborations.

Images courtesy of LOCAL ICONS

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Exploring Words and Destruction with "Extracts"

Three typography artists join forces for a group show highlighting their different uses of negative space

by CH Contributor in Culture on 22 September 2014

Artists, Exhibitions, Exhibits, Graffiti, Group Shows, Lettering, NYC, No Romance Galleries, Typography

by Jorge Grimberg

Extracts-02a.jpg Extracts-02b.jpg

Currently on view at New York's No Romance Galleries is "Extracts," an exhibition curated by Tim Strazza that features work by three artists on one common theme: the exploration of negative space through paper, words and deconstruction—and the boundaries within.

Strazza was initially inspired to create the show by artist Greg Lamarche, who is best known for his graffiti-inspired collages that explore the power of lettering and messages on the streets of New York. “Greg is really meticulous about sourcing. The guy is an encyclopedia of old print publications. His studio is just lined wall-to-wall with source material. He is really particular on where his pieces come from," Strazza tells CH. With Lamarche as a jumping-off point, Strazza then saw works by Max Rippon (aka Ripo) and Jurne, finding a two-part connection between the three talented artists—lettering, and their "destructive tendencies." Strazza elaborates, "I think the artists are more in tune with each other in the way they connect with the materials."

Nothing ever stays the same. Everything is going away. But as things fade away, in destruction, new things come to replace them.

Upon entering the gallery space, viewers may feel that "Extracts" is a solo show, as the artists' connection is so strong, but upon a closer look, each artist's distinct style and unique quirks become apparent. While Lamarche creates collages using vintage magazines and newspapers, Rippon’s work focuses on creating and then destroying his own paintings. “It’s about layering and putting down. Erasing things and then trying to find them again. And when it’s all done, cutting it again—destroying everything in a way that I just created," Rippon explains. The text itself has to do with passing of time, change and instability. “Nothing ever stays the same. Everything is going away. But as things fade away, in destruction, new things come to replace them," he concludes.


For Jurne, working meticulously and paying acute attention to detail is almost second nature, thanks to a background in cell biology research. "For me, all of my work is décollages. I am not sourcing materials, I am building. I am sort of doing the opposite. I start with a full sheet of paper and subtract from it. Removing it away until the composition feels better." Each of Jurne’s pieces present a combination of words that express a feeling or attitude that viewers can connect with immediately. “I’ll often be jotting down little phrases about everyday life and how it feels to be an artist. Balancing commercial work, fine arts and different projects, working through different scales. And that is sort of how I came up with the sayings for each piece," he explains. The concept of deconstruction—of words and materials—within each artist's work is a sharp reminder that the negative space, silence and that which isn't seen is oftentimes of equal importance as what fills up those spaces.

"Extracts" is on view now through 4 October 2014 at No Romance Galleries, located at 355 Broadway, New York.

Lead images courtesy of Max Rippon and Greg Lamarche, final image by Jorge Grimberg

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