MaxHarper Portrait

Inside the Designer’s Studio – Max Harper

On this edition of “Inside the Designer’s Studio” we had the pleasure to chat with Max Harper, the mind behind the Corker Light Series.

Sydney born and raised, Max’s designs were discovered by Luxmy in Milan earlier this year, we have since then started this collaboration and recently launched his amazing series of lights at Sydney Indesign 2015.

Max’s interview is inspirational and unpretentious. A must read.

1) Tell us a bit about you.

I was born and raised in Sydney, after some initially studying  drafting, I decided to go to RMIT to study industrial design where I kept my head down and ended up being a finalist for the prestigious graduate of the year award (GOTYA).

During my time at university I was lucky enough to do an exchange program in Foshan China, a large southern manufacturing hub. The time spent there really changed my perspective. So after I graduated I moved to Guangzhou a large city near Foshan, and spent a couple of years there working in 3D interactive design.

After seeing a colleague of mine do really well in Milan I wondered if that was a possibility for me so I came back to Sydney and have been doing lighting ever since.

I’ve been lucky enough to land an award at Melbourne Fringe Furniture for my Corker series in 2014, from that success I was invited to show in Milan as a part of Melbourne Movement. Melbourne Movement is a collective started by Kjell Grant to showcase Melbourne trained emerging designers in Milan during design week.

I’m currently doing projects with Australian manufacturers, as well as developing my own products and brand.

2) How did you get into design?

When I was younger I always thought I would be an architect, I ended up studying drafting and worked for an engineering firm and found out what the construction industry was all about and realised that it really wasn’t for me. I always had affinity for furniture and for products so I’d thought I’d give industrial design a go and I haven’t looked back since.

3) What would you be if not a designer?

It would be hard to think as myself as anything else, I’m quite technical so I believe I would dedicate my time to finding out how to do other things other than products and processes work.

4)  How would you describe your workspace?

It’s a little crowded, it’s a desk at home which changes roles depending on what I’m doing. I do concept development work there so I keep my sketchbook, computer for all my detailing, my 3D printer for mould making , lots of silicone and resin casting supplies.

5) What’s your favourite City and why?

My favourite city would be Hong Kong. I’ve been there about a dozen times after living in China for a couple of years. It really is a vibrant city of ultra-convenience where everything works, locals are friendly and there is always something new to discover. When you get tired of the city it’s really easy to get out and explore nature.

6) What advice would you give to a younger you?

I would tell myself that the KISS principle is golden, and try to work smart not hard.

7)  What gets you excited?

Innovative Eco-Materials.

8)  What turns you off?

6000K or cool daylight LED light globes.

9) What sound or noise do you love?

The sound of rain on a tin roof, the house I grew up in has a tin roof and I used to love falling asleep when it was raining.

10) What sound or noise do you hate?

The sound of my alarm in the morning, and waking up to that sound.

11) What’s your favourite word?

Fastidious – for me it’s fun to say, and I love its meaning.

12) What’s your least favourite word?

Congeal – it just conjures up graphic visualizations for me.

13) If you have to wake up in someone else’s body, who that person would be?

(Does anyone have a good answer to this question?)

The assistant of Marc Newson, I probably wouldn’t want the stress of running his studio but rather be an onlooker and see how the projects develop as an outsider.