How Ben Maxwell started his Melbourne-based design collective and brand.
December 9th, 2008
Ben Maxwell doesn’t have a design philosophy, “I don’t feel I’ve been around long enough to have a philosophy on design; but I promise that when I’m a cranky old man, I’ll make sure I tell everyone what I think about everything.”
The Melbourne-based designer trained in Industrial Design and, after graduating, did freelance designing while working in a Zoo (as one does). He now has his own label, ke:ec, and runs the Bamakko design collective store – where all the designs are hand-made by local designers.
Maxwell’s range of wallets and bags in various sizes, colours and applications are a little quirky and seriously cool. Resembling courier’s satchels his bags are often collaborations with melbourne artisits or a resurrection of forgotten fabrics – made partially from vintage and re-used material.
The names, Bamakko and ke:ec, are both sort of random accidents, with little to no significance to the products – ke:ec is somehow derived from the word ‘quiche’ and Bamakko was the result of a “dodgy predictive text” in Maxwell’s phone: “If I ever wanted to type ‘bam’, for some reason I would always be offered ‘bamakko’. But it stuck. Firstly we developed the Bamakko collective with a few like-minded friends during uni, then when I needed a name for the shop, well, it seemed to fit,” he says.
What’s so special about Melbourne design for Maxwell? “Probably the same things that are so special about all engaging cities – the small things that are going on on a localised level – whenever that’s in abundance, I think something truly unique and special will grow.”
Look out for Ben Maxwell’s design in DQ #32, out in January ’09.
Bamakko Retail Store – 358 Victoria St, North Melbourne
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