Untamed Creatives | Thingking



When contemplating Untamed creativity, unconventional process and invention, designer-maker consultancy Thingking is a natural association. Inspired by the sheer possibilities, the starting point for co-founders Lyall Sprong and Marc Nicolson was the potential to do good things via design. This sentiment is seen in practise in their contribution, below, to their immediate community in Woodstock, Cape Town, and global movement Fixperts.



Thingking Soup Offer
A favourite project of Lyall’s: Free hot soup on a cold winter’s day used as a conversation starter with their neighbourhood currently in the midst of gentrification.


Starting out as traditional industrial designers, over the years Marc and Lyall have moved into a space where they feel like they can “do roughly anything or anything roughly.” With a design philosophy of thinking through a feedback of doing, Thingking are well-aware of the benefits of playing, making and experimenting to find design solutions. Lyall explains, “I suppose there is a philosophy that comes out of making and reading and chatting to people. There are no overrated golden rules but the starting point for objects is then around ideas of things that we would actually want. We then just sort of jump in and see what emerges.” Even now with an understanding of their capacity, which has obviously expanded with each project, Thingking are acutely aware of the brilliance of passionate tinkerers.



Castle Lite Mind Reader


Journey of Water


Journey of Water installation for WWF South Africa


The team is interested in the process of making within a broad framework in which they are ever the amateur. This enthusiasm for doing what hasn’t been done before has had briefs from creative ad agencies rolling in. Whether a tweet-activated vending machine or talking plants, Thingking will find a way to make it happen. Another two examples are Marc’s favourite projects so far: an outdoor website for the Toyota RAV4 and a pancake machine for kids, created during the 2013 HC Hackathon.






Detailing his foray into design as an act as simplistic as playing with a stick to make it into a wand or a lever of sorts, Lyall goes on to describe design as “just something that happens when you need something or use an object in a way that suits you.”


Halo Light

Stick Lights



Thingking’s current preoccupations include a lighting set for Haezer; modifications of pot plant stands with electro luminescence to become Heineken ice-buckets; a skywalk concept for a biodiversity experience in Knysna; a series of halo lights for a client; a twitter-activated billboard for MINI; display items for Sir Juice; a secret activation for Kia; planning towards the Maker Library Network; reworking Redbull vending machines; and working on their next Arduino Exhibition opening tomorrow. They’ve also recently been shortlisted for a 2013 Icon Award in the Emerging Design Studio of the Year category.




Making of


With future plans for more service design, more community building, and undoubtedly more innovation, it seems the sheer possibilities for Thingking are endless.


Keep up, if you can, at thingking.co.za or on Facebook. 


Brought to you by the New and Untamed Mercedes-Benz CLA.


Spier Secret Dinner hosted by Thingking:




Photo by Retha Ferguson
Photo by Retha Ferguson
Photo by Retha Ferguson


Spier Chenin Blanc Tasting Notes:







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