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Practice Makes Perfect

A portfolio full of big names such as Tom Dixon and Avanti hasn’t led Jamie McLellan to believe he has reached his peak, Lee Suckling discovers.

Practice Makes Perfect


April 5th, 2011

Despite a successful decade of working for manufacturers in Australasia, Britain, Europe, Asia and the US, product designer Jamie McLellan doesn’t think he’s had his big break.

“I think I’m still working on it,” says the ’99 Victoria University of Wellington graduate, who returned to his homeland of New Zealand five years ago to establish his own practice.

McLellan dug his teeth into product design on staff at Tom Dixon in London.


Tom Dixon Link Tables

“Tom wanted people who could read his mind, and design the way he would,” says McLellan. “By osmosis, I absorbed his belief and have taken that into my own practice,” he adds. “Although, I’d say I’m a little more restrained – even uptight – than Tom is.” 


Tom Dixon Link Easy Chair


Tom Dixon Spin Candelabra

Working in New Zealand means McLellan doesn’t feel the need to compare himself to other designers – he’s taken out of the creative rat race.


Spar Light

“I’m removed from everything and am isolated, which lets me immerse myself in the design process, rather than getting caught up in everything around me,” he says. “But it’s not all easy; accessibility to buyers is the biggest impediment down here.”

McLellan’s recent work has brought his personal interests to his professional life. A keen skier, windsurfer, cyclist and sailor, the last 12 months have seen the innovation of the Pista Team Evo II bike for Avanti, the Atlas wave sail for Neil Pryde, and the K-001 Kayak, which he plans to get into production in the coming months.


Pista Team Evo II bike


Atlas wave sail

“I like to work on things I love, things I’m passionate about,” McLellan comments, adding that New Zealand is the perfect place to position his brand as a leader in high-end sporting goods design. “So many of the industrial processes I’ve learned in the past, and the materials I’ve used, can fit in with the design of contemporary sporting equipment.” 


K-001 Kayak

Even with over a decade of experience under his belt, McLellan believes he’s still learning.

“I’ve done nice, good work, but nothing groundbreaking… yet,” he says. “There are still some design questions out there that need answering.”

Jamie McLellan

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