The inherent playfulness in the intelligent, whimsical and wildly unpredictable work of Rob Southcott is evident both in individual pieces and in the hop-scotch trajectory of his career, one highlighted by creative non sequiturs that speak to his industrial-design range.
Raised by a mother who trained as an interior designer and a devoted DIYer father (who taught him that “if you think you can do it, set your mind to it, then do it”), Southcott is most excited when working with materials and manufacturing processes he has never “played with” before. He thrives on new mediums and loves to leapfrog from project to project (the phrase “jump right in” is something of a mantra).
His iconic stacking totem cups and bowls stand as thoughtful and admirably functional displays of Canadiana in porcelain, and his light sculptures — large, free-hanging cocoons — are formed out of chaotic flat patterns using laser-cut shapes made of different materials, including plywood and metal. More recently, his backlit mirror – Mirror Mirror, officially – repurposes Baroque sensibilities in a modern design. For Southcott, who graduated from OCAD U in 2003, his work is all about problem solving. Often he’ll develop a skill through online research, or simply tap into the expertise of Toronto’s extensive design community.
After conceiving his ideas, he envisions the best way to realize them. And his inspirations are as varied as his body of work: “Everything that I do on a daily basis informs my studio work, from the music I’m listening to down to the blogs I’m reading, or just the interaction I have with someone at the grocery store.” Whatever Southcott’s inspiration before heading into uncharted waters, his one constant is the desire to remain progressive. His objects make it clear that he has met that challenge and then some.