Can City’s ”Mobile Foundry”; Recycling Cans Into Artistic Furniture


London designers Studio Swine created an innovative mobile foundry. The foundry is used to melt aluminum cans, collected on São Paulo streets, using waste vegetable oil collected from local cafes as fuel. Interestingly, the whole process, from melting and molding to finished pieces is done on location, turning the street into improvised manufacturing line.

”Where the majority of carbon cost is in the transportation of goods rather than their production – ‘Can City’ explores the possibility of industry returning to our cities, using free metal and free fuel to produce an endless range of individually crafted aluminum items adaptable to customisations and able to ‘cast on demand’.”

can-city-recycling can-city-recycling-2 can-city-recycling-3 can-city-recycling-4 can-city-recycling-5 can-city-recycling-6

Over 80 % of the city’s recycling is collected informally on carts, pulled by independent waste collectors known as Catadores. That is why Studio Swine decided to create a system that would allow Catadores to recycle the rubbish they collect into products they could actually sell.

The creative stools are the first line items to be produced, inspired by vernacular design the seating is made for the food market that provided the waste materials. ”We made stools for the food vendor that provided the waste cans & oil. Unlike the conventional aluminum furniture they’re each unique and expressive.”

The Can Stools are made simply with sand casting technique using readily available construction sand from local building sites, and by casting an assemblage of objects found on the streets

The whole project was commissioned by  Coletivo Amor de Madre Gallery and included several Catadore co-operatives, who contributed by providing the cans and oils used in production. But Can City would not be possible without the generous support from Heineken.

Can-City-Recycling-8 Can-City-Recycling-9 Can-City-Recycling-10 Can-City-Recycling-11 Can-City-Recycling-12 Can-City-Recycling-13