Studio Swine’s Can City project is a mobile furnace that creates molten aluminium from drinks cans picked up on the streets of São Paulo. The furnace is powered by waste vegetable oil collected from local cafes, and the idea is to make furniture and objects from the molten metal by pouring it into sand moulds made from makeshift street materials like piping and palm leaves.
The project is a response to the work of the city’s ‘catadores’ – an informal network of waste collectors who make a living by roaming the South American city with carts, picking up items for recycling and re-use. The mobile furnace offers a way for these independent operators to produce a commodity with the waste they collect, creating ‘a system where their livelihoods can extend beyond rubbish collection.’
Studio Swine’s Alexander Groves and Azusa Murakami say their project explores the street as a place of spontaneous and resourceful industry, ‘using free metal and free fuel to produce an endless range of individually crafted items that can be cast on demand’.
The pair have used their mobile furnace to craft a line of stools for a São Paulo food market that provided the waste materials for the projects.