Kate Carlyle and Danny Myburgh can barely contain their enthusiasm for their new concept, Maymott. The name, a stitching together of mayhem and over the top, reveals some of the mad-genius energy they bring to the business. Which is appropriate because only mad geniuses would make what Maymott makes.
The inspiration for Maymott’s spiky cushions and strangely textured ottomans comes from strange underwater life forms, with occasional forays into the microscopic structures of viruses, bacteria, and pollen. The former required a course in scuba diving, so that shapes and textures could be observed firsthand. “Getting into the wetsuit and out of it was the worst part of the operation,” says Kate with a smile. “But we saw coral, coral reefs, forests of kelp, starfish and very inquisitive small sharks, all living amidst their immense underwater universe.”
Back on dry land, the duo interpreted the structures they saw with a simple crochet hook and a hamper of yarn. Towering curtains of kelp emerged. Reef-like banquettes and algae-like necklaces took shape. Bristling poufs and vaguely predatory pillows came to life. Because nothing in nature is merely pretty, all of Mamott’s products are functional and meant to be used. They can even be machine-washed.
And because crotchet can unravel, especially if it is used as freely as Kate and Danny intend, customers receive a refreshing lifetime guarantee: Maymott will mend and even add to pieces in need of attention. By promising a little regenerative care, Maymott imagines its product living forever.
As their lifetime warrantee indicates, Kate and Danny see themselves in business for the long haul. They are best friends. Kate has a strong track record in Mustardseed and Moonshine, the successful ceramic line she created and guided for over fifteen years. And they can crochet while watching television, so risk of boredom is quite small.
Humor aside, their mission has a serious side, too. Maymott is designed to create jobs for older women who need to stay home to care for their grandchildren in Khayelitsha, a marginalized township outside Cape Town. In just a few months since the launch of Maymott, many gogos (grannies) are now their households’ main breadwinners.
Maymott’s huge success at the recent Cape Town Design Indaba exhibition promises that the gogos of Khayelitsha will be employed for some time to come, that Kate Carlyle and Danny Myburgh will be watching TV together, and that a range of gorgeous sea life sofa pillows may pinch your bottom in the near future.
To learn more about Maymott visit www.maymott.com.