The upcycling message is practical, powerful and pretty clever.
“I really believe that waste can be beautifully upcycled,” says Max McMurdo, eco-designer and TV presenter. “Just because an item can no longer fulfill its original purpose, doesn’t mean it can’t work really well as something else.
“I started upcycling 18 years ago and people didn’t understand what I was doing, they thought I was a mad hippy!”
Chatty and fun, McMurdo lives in a 40-foot upcycled shipping container, which he converted into a floating home – and admits it’s the most ambitious thing he’s ever upcycled.
“It’s fantastic and I love it. I had the bright idea that if I’m telling people what to do, I must do it on the biggest scale of all and upcycle a home. My lampshades are old jelly moulds and my table’s a washing machine drum.”
If you take a look on Pinterest, it seems a lot of people stick to one material (which they’re comfortable with) when upcycling. But for McMurdo, successful product design and upcycling is all about mixing materials, like wood and glass or metal and leather. “So with something like a wash drum table, I put a light bulb inside that streams out of the holes, with a piece of glass on top.”
Working with reclaimed materials takes creativity and a little bit of effort. But as McMurdo points out, just because you’re upcyling, doesn’t mean it should be any less beautiful in terms of design and aesthetic. “You’ll be amazed how many things you can reuse in a really cool way!”
McMurdo has partnered with Heinz for their ‘Handmade with Heinz’ campaign, which aims to inspire people to upcycle household items and waste –