Deep in the Brazilian Rainforest lie the factory remains of Henry Ford’s empire from the 1920s. Founder of the Model T Ford, the entrepreneur attempted to create a secure a supply of rubber for his car empire, and for his workers, recreated an American suburbia complete with a hospital, houses, schools, shops and even a swimming pool and named it Fordlandia.
From the 22nd of September to the 10th of December, UAL’s London College of Communication will be showcasing a fashion space gallery exhibition inspired by Henry Ford’s failed utopia, entitled Fordlandia. This project is by Studio Swine and imagines a world where Fordlandia is a success, where nature and industry have entered a symbiotic relationship to create beautiful sustainability. The exhibition features a collection of furniture and products which use natural materials such as rubber from the forest to reference the Brazilian tropical modernist movement.
Accompanying the stunning pieces of furniture is an especially commissioned film charting Studio Swine’s research process, beginning with the studio visiting the Ebonite factories to the abandoned town in the Brazilian rainforest itself . Walking into this domestic ensemble is like walking into a product design wonderland characterised by beautifully clean aesthetics, gorgeously rich textures and elegant lines and constructions. Its sleek colour palette forms a sophisticated style, resulting in the collection embodying a contemporary and modern narrative.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue designed by Czech graphics and design collective OKOLO, and includes contributions by Kristen Gallerneaux, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Lily Cole, Ligaya Salazar, Karel Veselý and Studio Swine.
Commissioned and curated by Ligaya Salazar, this innovative exhibition presents a wonderfully unique and refreshing concept designed to utter perfection, each piece a small, beautiful representation of the ghost town of Fordlandia.
“Any colour – so long as it’s black.”
Leading image: Evron. A. 2010. Water tower and other building in Fordlandia, Brazil. Available at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fordlandia.JPG
Petr Krejčí photographs certersy of London College of Communication.