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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


To learn more about Rob, visit his website at