Is It a Comet or an Asteroid?: No, It’s Studio Swine's Meteorite Shoes

Super Wide Interdisciplinary New Explorers, aka Studio Swine, was founded in 2011 by Royal College of Art graduates, Azusa Murakimi and Alex Groves. Their exhibits are global in scope and the studio has worked in many European nations as well as throughout the Americas and Asia. Up to now their practice was to work with "found materials" such as: discarded Coke cans, garbage, human hair and the architectural designs of the countries they have visited.

Studio Swine and Microsoft

Microsoft commissioned Studio Swine to promote its latest Pro3 tablet computer, but left the scope of the project open to creativity. Embarking on this special assignment meant an important shift in techniques and practices. It forced the studio founders to experiment with diverse technologies, utilizing 3-D scanning to duplicate meteorite shapes and computer numerically controlled technology (CNC milling) to form the aluminum foam.


Studio Swine Meteorite Shoes: Source: Technobob.comStudio Swine Meteorite Shoes: Source:


Early research and results

 Groves and Murakimi researched their innovative shoes throughly. They visited London's Natural History Museum to investigate the forms and textures of the more than 2,000 meteorites that have landed on earth over the course of the last century. They consulted with geologists and based their final design on a meteorite the museum discovered in the Arctic. The footwear designs and the use of aluminum foam follow the pattern of a former exhibit made with the same material, which was a collection of cabinets created for Shanghai's Pearl Lam Gallery.


Meteorite Shoes Float: Source: Photo by Peter Krejci -Studio Swine.comMeteorite Shoes Float: Source: Photo by Peter Krejci -Studio


The result is a strange-looking high heel aluminum foam shoe that greatly resembles extra-terrestrial rock. The foam is often used as insulation in buildings and luxury cars. It forms by injecting gassing agents into the metal while it is still in a molten state and consists of 90% air. It is extremely lightweight and its uneven shape is the result of milling via CNC. Bubbles in the foam create the outer texture, while the insides are lined like traditional shoes to fit comfortably.

In the words of the studio founders:  "While the metal is in a molten state, gassing agents are injected, creating a pumice-like material full of thousands of irregular cells. The shoes are an example of how industry and natural forces can merge to create a beautiful material."


Meteorite Shoes- Back View: Source: Urdesign.comMeteorite Shoes- Back View: Source:


Special features of the Meteorite shoes

The back of each Meteorite shoe has a hidden structure on one end that prevents any type of heel from altering the meteorite illusion. The weight of the foot, according to its creators, "goes through the front and middle of the shoe." Perhaps what is most special about this unusual footwear is the seemingly inimical nature of its development. Constructed from a floating metal, these shoes are digitally manufactured and developed by a mainstream studio for a large corporation.

It would be impossible for the finished product not to be strange. No?


Closing thoughts about meteorites:

I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. ~ Jack London

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