Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves

Studio Swine marries tresses and resin to create hair highway products. 

Product designers Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves of London-based Studio Swine work with an unconventional material — luscious locks of hair — to create designs that are a response to the slowly declining natural resources. The human hair is a raw material that grows along with the growing population. It also grows sixteen times faster than the trees used for tropical hardwood. Therefore, for the Hair Highway project, the designers travelled to China to visit a hair market in Shandong (largest in the world). Studio Swine created a series of products such as decorative boxes, vases, trinket holders, inlayed screens and the base for a combined mirror and dressing table to show off its properties and change bias about using human hair in products. The process for the final product begins with the hair being sorted, brushed, dyed and bundled before shipping. To create the items, the strands were laid out flat in a thin layer and coloured resin is poured over the top. Once set into a solid block, the material acts like tropical hardwood. It is then sawed into sections and glued back together to create patterns from the different colours.