VW Serendipity with Rachael Taylor & Max McMurdo

Hello Everyone!

Exciting news! In celebration of ten years flying solo with her design business, Rachael has teamed up with upcycling and furniture guru Max McMurdo on a brand new and exciting project titled VW Serendipity.

The project, which will oversee a complete conversion of a Volkswagen T6 Kombi Transporter Van into a portable mini design studio & creative mentoring space, officially commenced this week with some creative planning days between Rachael & Max.

VW Serendipity promises a wealth of innovation & skill collaboration, from unique surface pattern application, creative styling, and adventurous uses of colour from Rachael Taylor combined with clever space-hacks, unique upcycled elements & beautifully engineered functionality from Max McMurdo.

Check out the article below where Rachael & Max share their news on this innovative & exciting project!

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THE MOBILE STUDIO IDEA

Following 10 successful years in running her own design studio & business, renowned print & pattern designer Rachael Taylor is driving her design career & personal brand in a fresh creative direction, focusing on new & ambitious design projects, collaborations, and continued design industry mentoring.

Rachael, who is also the co-founder of the global online design school Make it in Design, has instructed over 9500 students in the surface pattern design industry to date. With a new direction for her studio brand in mind & a desire to support existing & new members of the MIID community, Rachael has been passionately pursuing new avenues through which she can continue to mentor & share her expertise, with a focus on mobile, pop-up and in-person workshops.

Commenting on how the idea for a vehicle conversion came into play, Rachael cites seeing a vehicle vinyl-wrapped in her own design (during a demonstration day between MIID & Roland DG UK), as well as the custom vinyl flooring she designed & had manufactured for her outdoor studio. “These demonstrated the immense versatility of vinyl application with my own designs, bringing the exciting idea of a custom-designed mobile studio to the forefront for me. From there, lots of other fun ideas cropped up and I knew I wanted to use this project to push the boundaries of surface pattern design.”

Examples of Rachael’s vibrant signature design work

With the project now fully under way, Rachael is eager to continue to educate & encourage creatives across the UK & overseas, and looks forward to the mentoring possibilities with VW Serendipity: “I’ve mentored many people over the years online & now I am keen to take my design and business mentoring on the road. I plan to offer in-person appointments wherever possible and would love to offer some free mentoring sessions for schools and collages. There are endless possibilities and careers within the design industry; I want to inspire the young creatives as they are the future design stars of tomorrow.”

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THE COLLABORATION WITH MAX MCMURDO

In the initial planning & research stages of VW Serendipity, Rachael says that vehicle size proved to be a logistical challenge. Having then created a ‘wish list’ of design features & unique capabilities for her mobile studio, Rachael says her earlier idea of a converted Mini Cooper – to be known as ‘Mini Mentoring’ - had to be reconsidered.

“This is where I knew I needed help & guidance and where the talented Max McMurdo came in,” says Rachael. “We’ve recently become good friends, but I’ve actually admired Max’s clever design work for while. I’d seen his innovative creations & fantastic TV products & loved them (on the likes of Amazing Spaces), it was apparent to me that he’s a bit of a creative genius. I just knew that we would work well together on a project like this!”

A selection of  Max's innovative work

Rachael & Max then met up to discuss the project and to pitch ideas from their differing skill sets / design backgrounds. It was here that Max, who has worked previously as a car designer, suggested the idea of a bigger van for the project rather than a car model. On moving from a Mini to the much bigger VW Transporter, Rachael says, “Max really swayed me to a van! Initially we chatted about a towable unit, but to be honest, I’m the worst at parking! So a van was a brave but good move. I looked at a couple of options with Max’s guidance but in the end I fell in love with the Volkswagen Transporter range (granted, it has parking sensors and reverse cameras!)”

“While I do love a challenge, the idea of trying to squeeze all of Rachael’s dreams for the mobile studio into a vintage Mini Cooper felt a little over ambitious,” added Max. “I’m delighted she decided to base the build on a trusty VW Transporter. The space will allow us to create something fully modular and multifunctional with Rachael’s beautiful & colourful aesthetic.”

With the van now purchased, Rachael is eager to move forward with Max & see through project VW Serendipity. “I can’t wait to create this multifunctional studio space and literally park up wherever I like! There will be stunning views and lots of designing. From time to time I’d also love to invite fellow designers to join me to really encourage more co-working. It will also work as a fantastic marketing tool for both mine & Max’s work – it’s literally a physical moving portfolio!”

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NO PROJECT TOO BIG

“I am continuously thinking up ambitious and quirky ideas & truly believe that no project is too big if you put your heart & soul into it,” says Rachael. “& it really helps to have someone like Max who believes in my ideas just as much! Max thinks I’m a little random (but so do most people!) but he never seems phased. If anything, he just encourages them even more! I think when two minds come together it naturally injects more innovation.”

An array of Rachael's popular prints

For Max, the project also promises some exciting new design avenues to explore, especially around working with colour. “Truth be told, I don’t tend to use a lot of bright colour in my designs as I find it a little bit daunting. When I do, it’s generally just chalk paint! The challenge now is for me to help create some internal surfaces & furniture that compliment Rachael’s style, forms, and colours. We want to produce a really flexible space that will be enjoyed by a variety of users in number of different configurations.”

Max and his beautifully designed house-boat

Undoubtedly, the project promises tons of creative originality & exciting developments over the coming months. Whether it’s a love for pattern & colour or a passion for clever design & bespoke pieces, Rachael says, “Every inch of the vehicle is being considered & this has then sparked some very cool furniture ideas between Max and myself.”

However, as with many creative projects, fans of VW Serendipity will have to stay tuned for developments and to see just how ambitious the project truly is and how it all comes together. “I can’t give too much away right now, but there’s going to be some extra fun twists! I want to use the van in a couple of other imaginative ways too that are in addition to the original mentoring / studio space idea,” says Rachael. “It’s evolving into something truly unique & I cannot wait to reveal it...watch this space!”

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ON EMBRACING CHANGE AFTER 10 YEARS

With the project now under way, Rachael looks forward to taking her business in a new direction & is happily embracing change in her professional journey. “This van idea of mine is quite serendipitous,” says Rachael, “hence why I’ve named it VW Serendipity. It represents a lot for me & I am really looking forward to how many doors it will open for not just myself but for those I hope to teach & mentor.

It has been a little scary stepping back and saying no to opportunities that have ultimately made me successful up until now. Without sounding ungrateful I knew something had to give as I entered my 10th year of running my own business. I think I’ve just changed a lot personally & evolved into a slightly different creative direction.

It doesn’t mean to say I won’t go back to doing what I used to. I just have a desire to really try something new right now & as someone who lives and breathes surface pattern design I’m ready to shake it up, try new things, explore, experiment, push boundaries with technology & bring in some fresh innovation. & of course it helps to do it alongside a true talent & a good friend like Max – I really look forward to all the things he’ll bring to the table on the project!

Max is equally thrilled to get on board & looks forward to seeing the outcome of the collaboration. “I’m a huge fan of Rachael’s work,” says Max, “especially the way she refers to her extraordinary designs as ‘just doodles’! I just know that her use of bold colours combined with exquisite drawings will really push my own creative boundaries on this project.”

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Follow Rachael, Max and VW Serendipity on Instagram!

Rachael Taylor | Max McMurdo | VW Serendipity

Posted by: Holly

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