20Q: Thingking

Marc Nicolson and Lyall Sprong of Thingking would like to contribute towards ideas and objects that have a meaningful impact on people.
Posted 15 May 11 By Design Indaba Product Design Interviews / Q&A Comments

From the Series

1. What items would you put into a time capsule?  

Marc:  Would collect all well-made toys from as far back as possible.

2. If you were told that you had to live inside a work of art, which would you choose?  

Marc: Probably MC Escher's Metamorphosis.

Lyall: Did Turner ever paint a desert landscape?

3. How do you define creative success?

Assimilating good ideologies and finding a way to live by them.

4. What makes you laugh out loud?

Aiden Bennets's cardboard cutouts of himself.

5. How old were you when you made your first design and what was it? 

Marc: When I was six or seven I designed boots that could transport me up very steep mountains. They had wheels and spikes and I drew them on post-its that I put above my desk which I called my workshop.

6. Are there certain characteristics that all creatives possess?  

They are usually humans

7. What is the question you ask yourself the most?

What are we really trying to say?

8. What is something that you have learnt in the past five years?

Lyall: How wrong I can be.

9. In your subjective view, what makes a piece of design good?

Good design is incredibly soft. It is the guy that turns the bucket upside down to make a seat. It comes from a personal experience, pointing to a possibility that is made up of all the really meaningful, fearless stuff. It doesn't get much media attention

10. What do you do on Sundays?

Marc: Family time, try get onto the mountain.

11. Who in the world, dead or alive, would you most like to have a drink with?


12. Do you have a creative/business muse?

Marc: No.

Lyall: In the past it was always my mother.

13. What's the best design advice you've ever received?

Lyall: Ask yourself: What is this thing really about?

Marc: Work very hard.

14. How do you deal with failure?

It doesnt ever really feel like failure.

15. Which qualities do you most admire in others?

Elasticity and patience. We both like people that don't bullshit themselves, so I suppose honesty?

16. How do you know when a piece of design is complete?

When it no longer exists in the physical or imagined world, otherwise it is always evolving or causing some kind of ripple.

17. What is something you know you do differently to most people?

Lyall: I am immature and idealistic.

18. What has been your favourite project to date?

The plastic prayer fence mobiles in Khayelitsha at Velokhaya which we are currently completing

19. Do you recycle?


20. Can design save the world?

The world will be fine, humanity needs something much deeper than design. Design is but a useful tool.

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