Hair Highway is a China-based project from nomadic design duo Studio Swine, exploring the potential of human hair beyond its wildly expanding role in the beauty industry.
As the world’s population increases, human hair is re-imagined as an abundant and renewable alternative to diminishing resources such as horn, tortoise shell or tropical wood. By investigating the trade and craft around the hair industry in Shangdong province, Studio Swine explore the potential of human hair by creating new materials and a collection of exquisite objects.
China is the world’s largest importer of old growth tropical hardwoods and exotic animal horn. Studio Swine suggest a sustainable alternative by utilising the amazing qualities of human hair. Asian hair in particular grows incredibly quickly – up to 16 times faster than hardwood mahogany. It’s also very strong – a full head of hair can take the weight of two African elephants. By combining hair with a natural bio resin, Studio Swine invent a new composite material with an exotic aesthetic, that evokes horn or tropical hardwood.
The Hair Highway collection is based around a central concept of the ancient Silk Road. The project explores China’s relationship with the rest of the world, by creating a collection of exquisite objects inspired by Qing dynasty era pieces and 1920s Shanghai-deco style. The much fabled Silk Road once transported not only silk but also technologies, aesthetics and ideas between East and West. Hair Highway returns to the idea that trade has the ability to transport new materials, values and perceptions.
“Asian hair in particular grows incredibly quickly - up to 16 times faster than hardwood mahogany.”
Hair Highwayis a project by Studio Swine for Pearl Lam Galleries Concept + Design Alexander Groves + Azusa Murakami Text + Images Studio Swine Film Director Juriaan Booij Edit Sally Cooper Production Support Danful Yang + Lily Xu