Industry and Academia Working Together: Maxton Fox Partnership

An impromptu introduction during Western Sydney University’s Catalyst West forum from WSU Launch Pad, has led to a partnership between the School of Built Environment and Maxton Fox, a leading Australian commercial furniture manufacturer in Western Sydney.

The partnership, spearheaded by Ms Karen Yevenes and Dr Sasha Alexander from the School of Built Environment, has provided students studying the Bachelor of Industrial Design with practical Work Integrated Learning experiences.

“Working with a leading Australian commercial furniture manufacturer in Western Sydney with over 50 years’ experience has been invaluable to our Industrial Design students.” Ms Yevenes said.

“Students have been challenged to work with a client, meet a design brief, and formulate outstanding design solutions that respond in a meaningful way to the client’s needs, all whilst coping with the disruptions and concerns of COVID-19 lockdowns.”

With the increasing trend of merged and hybrid spaces, Maxton Fox were curious to explore the nature, function and style of 'chair' design going forward and challenged the students to design a feature furniture item suited to commercial spaces.

The Industrial Design students have worked closely with Maxton Fox in developing their feature furniture item and have been able to see the manufacturing facility first hand, bringing a greater understanding of the theoretical components of their studies.

John Allen, a second year student agrees: “I feel so honoured to have been given the opportunity to work with a real client. Seeing the Maxton Fox factory and their production was an amazing experience. Being able to visualise what we learn in theory during class into a real-world environment has helped me establish the link between design theory and practice.”

Maxton Fox have invited the students to enter their designs to the Western Sydney Emerging Designer Award 2020. The top three designs will be selected and made into fully working and marketable prototypes to promote and celebrate the work of the students.

For more information on this exciting partnership, please contact Ms Karen Yevenes: