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The next interview with Toronto Design Offsite Festival contributors is with Toronto-based industrial designer, Rob Southcott.  Mason Journal had a chance to speak with Rob to learn more about his process, product and approach to designing his objects.

Mason Journal: How do you describe your craft/practice?

Rob Southcott: I’m an industrial artist who aims to create objects that are unique, beautiful and functional.

MJ: Tell us about yourself and how you evolved into your current discipline.  

RS: I studied Industrial Design at OCAD and was always drawn to the problem solving aspect of creating/designing objects. I’m currently working on projects ranging from product design to sculptural installations and I always take a very sculptural approach to the things I create.

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MJ: You describe your method as being formed from a young age.  Can you describe this method and why you’ve maintained it over the years?

RS: I’ve always been a curious tinkerer. I’m still learning new things every day and being keen for knowledge will always keep me excited.

MJ: What materials are you particularly drawn to working with? 

RS: I find new materials are always the most exciting as well as new processes but I’m also commonly drawn to wood for its natural qualities.

MJ: Is there an underlying approach, process or perspective you maintain across your projects? 

RS: I like to keep accumulating information about a project until that essential moment when you start to develop a concept.

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MJ: Would you describe product being a result of process, or process a result of the intended product?  How is this shown in your work? 

RS: That’s a tough one, I feel like it’s sort of a chicken or the egg thing. I’ve worked both ways and find that some of the most intriguing objects often develop new process to aid in their creation.

MJ: Do you collaborate with other designers or artists?  How is this process different from a solo venture?

RS: Most collaborations happen between clients, myself, and the other crafts people that are involved in the production of each new piece. I can’t think of a project that hasn’t had some form of collaboration to aid in the creative process.

MJ: As you have been exhibited internationally, how would you describe the reaction and reception of your work on an international field as compared to being shown in Canada?

RS: I say the biggest difference being outside of Canada is that my work is often viewed as having a strong Canadian identity.

MJ: How does Toronto Design Offsite impact the Canadian design community?  How does it impact your personal practice?  

RS: It’s a chance to showcase work to a local and international audience. Toronto has such a strong design community and I can always expect to see some inspiring new works during design week.

MJ: From a local perspective, how do you see the design industry shifting over the next few years?  

RS: I see a strong growth, we have the ability to make a big impact globally from right here in in our backyard.

MJ: Can you tell us what we can look forward to seeing from you next?

RS: For Design Week 2013, I’ll be showing three new objects.

Mirror Mirror at Shiny Pretty Things

This full-length back lit mirror captures traditional Baroque imagery and presents it with a modern twist.

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Null and Void at Come Up To My Room.

A series of sculptural pendants with an abstract structural canopy which plays with light, shadow and space.

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Portion Distortion at Not Forkchops

A set of plates designed to help users determine proper portion sizing when preparing and serving food. Each plate illustration was designed based on standard nutritional information to act as a visual reminder of correct portion sizing when plating food. A set of four plates includes one fish, poultry, beef and soy protein illustration as well as vegetable and grain illustrations on each.

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To learn more about Rob, visit his website at www.robsouthcott.com