It's one thing to make a product using aluminum or plastic recycled at a plant. But recycling cans into chairs—on the same street they were found—is something else. That's exactly what the resourceful designers at Studio Swine did on a recent trip to São Paulo.

The London-based designers call their project Can City. It was inspired by São Paulo's informal recycling system, which is powered by catadores—independent collectors who gather aluminum and cast-offs in their handmade carts. The Swine team created a small, impromptu furniture production facility using little more than local tools and secondhand “waste” materials.

Here's how it worked. The design duo created a makeshift foundry fueled by vegetable oil from local cafes; once up and running, these were strong enough to melt down crushed cans—which were then poured into molds using sand from nearby construction sites.

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The resulting collection of stools was created using the forms of items found at food markets (where there were also intended for use), resulting in a new kind of seating vernacular. While this “cast on demand” system might cut into the profits reaped by these catadores, and thus it's tough to imagine them catching on in a large scale, it's still amazing to see it in-action.

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The idea of rethinking the way we treat our rubbish is one that Studio Swine has mastered; most notably, perhaps, with their Sea Chair (which they subsequently open-sourced), a stool made from plastic trash sourced from the ocean. But the duo also take cues from other eras, like the Brazilian Tropicalia movement—the basis for this unique wood and blown-bottle series. It's quite a range of references for a duo based in England.

We’re excited to see where their travels take them next.