During the late 1920’s, deep in the Amazon rainforest, Henry Ford created Fordlandia – a self-sufficient town complete with rows of houses, schools, hospitals and a church. With the sole purpose of securing a supply of rubber for his fast-growing automotive empire, the workers of Fordlandia were expected to live like true Americans, working nine to five in the tropical heat of the jungle – attending regular square dances in their leisure time.
Ford’s attempts to control the lives of his workers and tame the wilderness of the rainforest did not go as well as planned. The project subsequently failed and Fordlandia was sold back to the Brazilian government in 1945, when it became deserted and left to decay.
A new exhibition at Fashion Space Gallery explores the ruins of the ghost town and imagines Fordlandia as a success, where nature and industry meet in harmony and help each other to flourish.
With a focus on sustainable materials and a reference to the Brazilian tropical modernist movement, Studio Swine have created a collection of furniture which uses natural rubber and other materials that can be found in the Amazon rainforest.
Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves of Studio Swine invited recent BA Fashion Textiles graduate Erica Weide and MA Menswear alumni Emma Fenton Villar to collaborate on the project – by contributing three denim workwear jackets, a denim wall-hanging and a rust-dyed textile screen.
An specially commissioned film by Juriaan Booij and Studio Swine illustrates the research process of the project, as well as the current state of Fordlandia and an accompanying soundtrack features the sounds of the jungle.
Fordlandia by Studio Swine is on view at LCF’s Fashion Space Gallery until 10 December 2016.
USP: By revisiting the past and exploring an alternative future where nature and industry meet in harmony, Studio Swine feed our imagination whilst highlighting important environmental issues.