We had the pleasure of meeting Japanese architect Azusa Murakami and British artist Alexander Groves aka Studio SWINE (Super Wide Interdisciplinary New Explorers) back in 2014 when they had returned from a trip to China and had just completed the project Hair Highway. What impressed us back then during their presentation was the high value they were putting on the creation of beautifully shot short movies on each of their projects documenting journeys, places and valuable interactions with people contributing to the realisation of their objects. The other strong characteristic of their work is the dedication to important environmental and social issues like recycling, keeping our oceans clean and conscious methods of production.

The occasion for which we are once again talking with Studio SWINE is their Swarovski Designer of the Future Award.

Let’s start from the beginning: why the water? What has drawn you to the theme of recycling and bringing more attention to the pollution of the oceans?

We always are most excited about designs ability to do three things. Transform a material, talk about a place both geographically and culturally and also convey history and current times.

For us the project Gyrecraft encompasses all three, tackling the contemporary problem of plastic pollution at sea, transforming a material into new objects rooted in maritime craft traditions and a sense of place.
What was your longest stay on a boat? Where was that?
It was 12 days at sea, not that long a time but we did get really far from any other boats and planes and only saw one or two container ships as small dots on the horizon during the whole voyage.
What type of gear did you bring with you in order to execute your research and prototype experiments while sailing?
We took the solar extruder machine that we created and the tools to assemble it and calibrate it all on the boat. The Boat is dedicated to collecting plastic so they had the trawl nets for actually collecting the plastic at sea.
Can you remember one incident when you were on the boat and wishing you were on the mainland – missing any particular tool, or being afraid of dying?
No, we had great weather and we actually really missed the constant rocking motion of the sea when we returned to land. I long to return.
How did you finance your first project? Did it get easier with time to find financing once your name and projects were so well recognised?
Each time it’s just as hard as the first as we get more and more ambitious so each time we do a new sea project it requires more funding. The last time we funded the trip and film with a Kickstarter campaign. Then we got some funding from Selfridges to make an exhibition about the voyage.
What are your expectations for the Gyrecraft project – what is its aim and ultimate dream related to it, who is its audience? 
We want to raise more awareness about the problem at sea and create a change in how we use plastics on land. We teamed up with Selfridges, London’s largest department store who removed all plastic water bottles from their store. We are working on a new project about the Amazon rainforest at the moment but want to return to Gyrecraft with a new collection next year.
Why did you chose the space theme for the Terraforming project?
We were really interested in design that exists in a imaginative space, designers have worked for Sci-Fi in the past, Syd Mead for example was a industrial designer who also worked on the art production of Blade Runner. We imagined a planet made entirely of crystal and had this idea that Swarovski would be the best company to terraform such a planet.
What is going to be the destiny of the items you have designed for the video? Are they prototypes for future line of products? 
The Clock is a functional piece which Swarovski plan to make in an edition. The table is also functional but is unique for their crystal palace collection.
Filming is a very important part of your work – how did you decide that from the start a short movie will accompany your projects? Do you work with one and the same director or different ones? Did you receive a prize for some of them?
We have special projects which we know from the start will result in both a film and a design collection. For these we start researching and designing both from the start and that informs the outcomes of both. We aren’t interested in documenting a process at the end of a project, designing scenes for the film often inspires the actual objects we create.
We work with Juriaan Booij who is a director at Ridley Scott Associates, we have also worked with Petr Krejčí for the Gyrecraft film. 
The films have gone to film festivals and won some awards, the highlight was Sea Chair winning Cannes Young Directors award.