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Photography by Olivia Maldonado

2023 Cranbrook Fellowship: Kim Swift

Pophouse is celebrating it’s 5th year of Cranbrook Academy of Art’s 3D Design fellowship with Kim Swift’s engaging work. This fellowship focuses on three-dimensional design, emphasizing skills and techniques related to creating objects, structures, or art in physical space. Cranbrook Academy of Art is a renowned institution known for its emphasis on art and design education. The student from Cranbrook spends approximately three months at Pophouse. This extended period allows the student to immerse themselves in the working environment and gain a deep understanding of how a studio operates. This collaboration serves as a platform for a student to bridge the gap between academic learning and real-world application, providing them with a unique opportunity to contribute to and learn from a professional design studio.

  • Date January 2024
  • Written by Olivia Maldonado
  • Topic
    • Partnerships
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Possibility Picnic

The Possibility Picnic exists at the convergence of art, functionality, and performance. What is seemingly an everyday backpack unfolds into a vibrant celebration of collective creativity, inviting participants to embark on a sensory journey that pushes boundaries and promotes collaboration. The project revolves around a curated collection of portable objects designed for an afternoon picnic; from fly nets and utensils to serving trays, parasols, coasters, and more. These objects serve a multifunctional purpose as both their basic utility and elements of performance. Utensils morph into musical instruments, creating impromptu symphonies that harmonize with the ambient sounds of nature. Food nets seamlessly transition into festive party hats, blurring the lines between utility and festivity, encouraging participants to embrace the whimsical and unexpected. Users are invited to release inhibition and play with the interactive elements.

Pophouse | Detroit Interior Design Firm
Kim Swift's eclectic collection of dinnerware redefines the purpose of everyday items.

The Process

Throughout the course of several months, Pophouse has provided Swift with mentorship in the design process as part of the fellowship. Though several critiques and fabrication experiments, Swift was able to materialize the components of the Possibility Picnic. The multifunctional backpack is lined with vintage Chanel boucle tweed that is exposed when converted to a picnic blanket. Powder-coated aluminum containers and mesh-lined fly nets nest within each other like Russian dolls to create a compact and portable user experience. The hand-made weighted coasters are designed for both practical use and as cornhole hackey sacks, blending leisure with functionality in an unexpected twist.

Pophouse | Detroit Interior Design Firm
Pophouse | Detroit Interior Design Firm

Kim Swift

Grounded in experiential design, Swift approaches her diverse practice as both an artist and a storyteller, delving into the intricate interplay between physical environments or objects and the narrative they construct. Her creative endeavors are driven by the purpose of enriching our ties with one another and the surrounding world. Her creative footprint extends to companies such as Apple, Condé Nast, LVMH, Net-a-Porter, and more. In addition, Swift has produced work for renowned music artists including Harry Styles, Ariana Grande, Florence, Maggie Rogers, and Aja Monet. Kim’s practice has earned her the title of Best New Designer at the 2023 International Contemporary Furniture Fair.

Pophouse | Detroit Interior Design Firm

Kim Swift’s Possibility Picnic evolves the communal space, inviting participants to gather, share stories, and immerse themselves in the collective energy of the moment. As individuals come together to engage with these multifaceted items, the project transforms mundane activities into avenues for imagination and collaboration. The act of gathering takes on a newfound significance, evolving beyond the mere physicality of socialization to become a shared exploration of creativity.

Artist: Kim Swift | Film and Photo: Olivia Maldonado | Words: Mark Welsh | Music: Angus Mileva

Friends: Izzy Krompegel-Anliker, Rebecca Pedley, Eel Costello, Beverly Dogwood


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