Bedford-based designer, Max McMurdo, rose to fame ten years ago when he appeared on BBC’s Dragon’s Den, seeking investment for his upcycled creations. Since then, Max has become a regular fixture on our TV screens, but this year he’s returning to his design roots with a revolutionary product that could make a big difference…
Last year, Max went to Kenya with a friend from school who is now the community outreach manager for Derby County FC. “They go every year to help with building projects and he’s always asked me to join them,” said Max. “Following my divorce, I thought it would be a good thing to help take my mind off things. As it turns out, it was the most wonderful experience of my life.”
While in Kenya, the team Max was with were tasked with building a classroom and kitchen. The current kitchen was a 2sq m unventilated smoke-filled room providing 75 kids with their only meal of the day. “We spent two weeks designing and building a 5m x 5m ventilated kitchen which was hugely rewarding but I would spend every day crying at how desperate the situation was. The children had nothing to aspire to, there were no building materials there; everything we used was scavenged.”
On their last day, Max and the team were taken to visit the local tip. “I found out that 90% of the plastic packaging that finds its way to Kenya is from the UK. On the one hand I had no building materials and on the other hand, we’ve shipped tonnes of our plastic waste there. On the flight home, it occurred to me that we could help the local people to put our waste to a better purpose.”
Inspired by his life-long love of Lego, Max set about designing a biodegradable cardboard brick mould; something that could be made from the abundant waste in Kenya. Just before Christmas, he received the registered design rights and in May he’s going back to Kenya to test the prototypes. “This is potentially the greatest thing I’ve done,” said Max. “It’s the least sexy design I’ve ever created, but with the most meaning and potential.”
We look forward to following Max’s BOTLBLOX journey.