Lyall Sprong and Marc Nicolson  of Thingking‘s  latest designs were featured in a recent hoolie-hah post .

These designer-makers are the creators of beautiful objects like the gorgeously organic Waste PVC Table and the Euco Bench  exhibited at the Milan Furniture Fair in 2008.

Increasingly they’re finding their element in distilled – though deeply evocative – designs that suggest a closer meshing of their evolving personal philosophies with their work,  as well as their exploration of their roles as designers.


Like the Bracket Light  which they describe as “a lamp that is more like a bracket; not a precious object … one which has to be finished off with a shade and base”.

At the  Design Indaba Expo  this year Thingking sold their bracket lamps for whatever purchasers deemed they were worth.  People got affordable access to design while having to engage around the value they placed on it. You can follow how people have personalised their lamps on Bracket Light Blog.

The intersection between design, application and impact is a recurring theme in conversations with Marc and Lyall.

So it is telling that Lyall shares as his favourite designs at home  the Bracket light that he uses next to his bed, personalised  with bamboo and a photographic negatives, and one of a little blue storage jar with ” comforting proportions …  a really humble object (with) a bright, alive feeling,” he says.

Marc’s favourite design object at his house is another fairly recent Thingking design, the Halo Lamp.

25 crafters bent steel into halos to create individual lamps in an exploration of the relationship between designers and producers and to acknowledge an interdependence which is often ignored.

“We need to recognise the fellowship in the way we work. We are all in this together,” they say.

Marc and Lyall are both graduates of CPUT’s Department of Industrial Design and between them have exhibited locally and abroad including a number of appearances at the Milan Furniture Fair.

Here they answer questions about life and living as designers.


Lyall: a vehicle by which I can lead a good life.

Marc:  a way of exploring the world.


Lyall: is I  ethically finding solutions based on context, stemming from a deep, positive understanding of one’s place in the world.

Marc:   I try to design from a place of understanding and challenging my personal development. Solutions need to be useful, contextual and meaningful. It is not about making things look pretty.


Marc: I have really enjoyed the refurbishment at Velokhaya. Coming up with easy and quick to make, cheap, simple solutions that work well.

Lyall:  “The diamond inside a chair“. My way of thinking changed.

While their office cum studio is in the Woodstock Industrial Centre which they share with artists Faith 47 and Alexia Webster, both have homes in Muizenberg which they love for its sense of community.


Lyall:  I mostly have nothing on the walls although there are these images of sharks jumping out of the water in my bathroom.

Marc: Photos and art by friends (Daya Heller, Greg Lomas, Julia Merett, Mikhael Subotzky, Luke Kaplan, Greg Nicolson), plus lots of drawings and family photos.


Marc: I take the train to work and keep a scooter for getting around at work. I have a car for holidays and getting the family around and two vintage bicylces (one with a child seat, the other an old Royal Mail bike) to ride from Muizies to Kalk Bay on weekends and for missioning around Muizenburg village buying bread from Hassan.  I also have a 1978 XT 500 for the raw power.


Lyall: I  love reading and sitting in bakeries and drinking coffee. I like to swim in dams and walk on the mountain. in central Cape Town I really love Birds Cafe.

Marc:  at C’est la Vie in Kalk Bay for coffee, and Bombay Chilli in Muizenburg is the best curry place in Cape Town.  I miss the Independent Armchair. Nothing comes close to it. I like to go to people’s houses and walk on the mountains.


Marc: when we sell at markets.

Lyall:  are areas of Cape Town that I seldom. The other day I was at Makro
in Ottery . That was very interesting and not what I usually experience.