by Zohra KhanDec 17, 2021
"Anger is a word that seems negative. Being passionate in a subject and if you aren’t a bit roared up sometimes, for me personally, it feels I am not doing something that’s affecting me. To be doing something which is relevant, that emotion for me is quite healthy.”
– Paul Cocksedge
From dreaming of becoming a pilot to realising he is actually scared of flying, a career in design happened serendipitously for Paul Cocksedge. While the thought of navigating the skies engrossed him in his early 20s – an idea Cocksedge describes as “a glamorous vision that probably came from a Hollywood movie” – the naivety of it, he says, thankfully shifted his focus toward mathematics and science while he already enjoyed design and arts in a parallel universe. “Suddenly these two worlds came together… and bits of work popped out that encapsulated a strange mix,” says the London-based designer on UNSCRIPTED as he recalls how he found himself where he is today.
Co-founder of Paul Cocksedge Studio, a multi-disciplinary practice working at the crossroads of furniture design, installations, architecture, and technology, that he started in 2004 with Joana Pinho, 43-year-old Cocksedge shares with us some unknown facts from his professional and personal life in this 17-minute video episode.
When one says big, I don’t think of architecture. I think of positive energy. I think of people in groups, talking.
Bringing original design driven by research into the limits of technology, materials and manufacturing processes, Paul Cocksedge Studio's works include the iconic smartphone loudspeaker 'Change the Record', 'Here Comes the Sun' – a post lockdown social-distancing blanket, urban furniture-cum-installation ‘Please Be Seated’ for London Design Festival 2019, and ‘Excavation: Evicted’ - a furniture series commissioned by Friedman Benda Gallery employing material taken off the foundations of his own London studio. Some of his other noteworthy projects include the ‘Compression Marble Sofa’ for Moooi, the shimmering curtain ‘Veil’ for Swarovski Crystal Palace, the immersive lighting installation ‘Sestosenso’ for BMW and Flos, and ‘Slump’ tables for Carpenters Workshop Gallery.
Delving into Cocksedge’s practice, one discovers a refreshing perspective on scale, and imaginative ways how repetition and routine can become great sources of creative energy. Talking about one of the key influences in his life on UNSCRIPTED, the designer mentions Israeli-British luminary, Ron Arad, who taught him product design at the Royal College of Art in London. In the episode, Cocksedge cites several instances of learning and unlearning, and narrates a funny memory when running an experiment on one of his student projects led to confusion and chaos.
Coming from a working-class background where his humble upbringing gifted him "a carnival of influences", Cocksedge shares that he has got his mother’s unceasing positivity, and his dad’s spirit to fight injustice. Having recently become a father himself to a beautiful girl, he contemplates how the biggest revelation he has had lately has been that he is not as remarkable as he thought himself to be. Thinking aloud, words of his father who once said, “Paul, don’t take life too seriously,” for him his life is now about balancing the acceleration and mania in delivering the best of his creative side, and trying to become a good father and a partner.
More on UNSCRIPTED, the designer reveals a secret obsession, his worst nightmare, his sacred weekend ritual, the biggest misconception people have about him and the reason why he never chose to work for anyone.
Tap on the cover video to watch the complete episode.
All photographs © Paul Cocksedge Studio, unless stated otherwise. Images may not be downloaded, copied, reproduced or used in part or whole without obtaining permission. The photographs in this video are not licensed for personal, commercial or public use, or use in the public domain in any form.
Curated by PramitiMadhavji (Consultant, Content Adviser, STIR), UNSCRIPTED is a STIR-original series of quick-witted video interviews with leading design professionals who give us an undiscovered peek into their lives. A melting pot of quests, revelations and quirks, the series releases a new episode every Sunday as designers reveal unheard and unknown nuggets from their lives, in response to 30 questions.