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Max McMurdo

As the poster boy for upcycling, this designer hopes to inspire others to get a little more creative with their waste

The kindness catch up with

You may recognise Max McMurdo from his appearance on Dragons Den over a decade ago, or more recently on George Clarkes Amazing Spaces. But convincing the dragons to invest in his business, Reestore, is only a small part of his story. Living and breathing design, Max now lives on a houseboat that he created from scratch using upcycled materials and spends his time educating others to adopt a more resourceful attitude.

I graduated in 2000 with a degree in product design. I worked as a car designer in Germany for a couple of years after graduating, but I realised I wanted to do something more environmentally-friendly and where I personally design, develop, make and sell something. That’s the ultimate goal – to actually see your product in someone’s room. I quit car design after two years, much to my parent’s dismay, as I found it really frustrating. There were around 4,000 people who collectively designed the new Mini – you can’t ever truly be creative and own that design in that environment. So, I moved back to the UK, bought myself a camper van, filled it with junk – old baths, shopping trollies – and then spent a year just making things out of them while living on my parent’s driveway in the campervan. It just evolved from there. Upcycling wasn’t really a phrase back then and really I was just an artist, making provocative pieces.

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About Be Kind

Hello, I can remember a time, not so long ago, when most people I know were afraid of bees. Along with wasps, bees would create carnage when innocently passing through a garden BBQ or picnic, as people dashed to safety, terrified of the striped stinging machines. Now, it seems that everyone loves the humble bumble – they’re viewed with reverence and affection, and their cute and cuddly depiction is worn on necklaces and T-shirts across the country. To say it’s been a turnaround would be an understatement, but why has this happened? Our perception of bees has had to change, but only because their crucial population is under threat and their plight has been brought into the public’s consciousness. We know that we have to protect them at all costs, or it will mean terrible things for mankind. But, how many other animals do we currently disregard, that we’ll only appreciate when they’re in trouble? How many of us look more fondly upon walruses, following Attenborough’s devastating documentary? This month we want to shine a light on non-human animals – the heroes who keep our ecosystems balanced, who help teach our children about the planet, and who bring our communities together. We share this Earth with so many creatures, great and small, all of whom are vital to our existence. But we need to begin to respect and care for them now, not just when the odds are against them. Enjoy the issue, Phillipa Editor