When Lyall Sprong and Marc Nicolson met in a church, it was a meeting of minds that led to the formation of Thingking, a “designer-maker consultancy” that has forged a reputation for producing thought-provoking objects in the design industry. This is the second year that they contribute to the Rock Me Again recycled fashion project, which is led by Capsule Projects in association with Jameson Irish Whiskey and vida e caffé. This year they will be re-shaping discarded cardboard boxes into bins for the project’s old-garment-recruitment phase. Capsule Projects asked them a few questions.
Photography Alexia Webster
How did you meet?
We met in the Moravian church under the bell at the then Cape Technikon.
Give us a brief description of what Thingking does.
We ask lots of questions and then finally end up designing objects.
How do you find clients in the current economic climate?
I think that we push quite hard and the rest sort of follows.
It seems the pace of sustainable design (products, fashion, buildings, etc.) has accelerated globally. How much is sustainable design part of the Thingking philosophy, especially in light of the fact that South Africa will be hosting a UN Climate Change conference later this year? Give some examples of your work.
The current wave of “sustainable” design hype that we see in the media doesn’t really answer any of the deeper, more important questions. Any kind of sustainability is ultimately going to be about a shift in thought paradigms with corresponding new ways of being on the planet. I don’t want to compartmentalise by, for example, talk about sustainability as if it pertains to “green” manufacture and material choices. The best thing that we can say is that we aim to live our lives in a way that reflects a deeper sensitivity and consciousness; we do not see this as being separate from the work that we do.
What are your favourite blogs and sites?
Lyall: I prefer books, but I like Tim Brown’s blog and wikipedia.
Can you imagine yourselves doing anything else?
Lyall: I want to do something where work, social, recreational and spiritual life are not as distinct or complex; something like communal farming.
Marc: Working with organisations or systems from an ecological perspective.
If you could live in any other city in the world, where would it be and why?
Lyall: I really like Kolkata. It is an incredibly raw place where I felt quite close to the important stuff.
Marc: I would live in the country.