Meeting with visual thinkers | Wayne Maxwell

Curious about spaces that feel right, and the people behind them, I set out to understand what makes a visual person tick. Is it an inate ability, a nurtured form of thinking, or is environment the influencing factor on their approach and attitude to design?

Wayne Maxwell, a designer /maker with South African roots,  moved out of London and converted an old pig barn into his studio workshop overlooking the village of  Upper Slaughter in the Cotswolds.

Living in South Africa as a child, Wayne experienced a culture with a resourceful attitude to waste material. “In Africa, nothing goes to waste, skips are never full, everything is taken and used”. From local businesses within a mile radius of his studio, Wayne is able to source discarded materials like packing wire, wood cast-offs and excess sheets of plywood.

Seen below is one of his signature swings crafted from excess plywood and a garden lighting concept from an old jerry can from an apple juice manufacturer. Wayne had noticed the sunlight illuminating the plastic just as it was thrown into a skip.

This mindset might explain why Wayne’s creative process starts first with acquiring discarded material, and then harnessing and developing new imagined possibilities. I observed two crucial elements behind the vision and style of this designer:

(1) a heightened ability to notice  (2)  a playful curiosity.

Interestingly he is dyslexic. Wayne demonstrates the dyslexic advantage through his material reasoning in 3D and in his ability to imagine new posibilities with his product design.

A playful form of eco-creativity is integral to his process.

As someone who struggles with writing  structure (to the point of despair…), I am inspired by some principles that go beyond linear thinking.

From my conversation with Wayne I learned it is important to notice, be curious and see possibilities.

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