I spotted new designer Felix Proctor’s work at Platform in the House of Detention during Clerkenwell Design Week, but didn’t get to meet the man himself, so I was keen to catch up with him afterwards. We talked about the difference between art and design, music to design by, and getting chainsaws stuck in trees…
What’s the most important thing to know about you?
I am a fount of obscure but useful knowledge.
What made you want to become a designer?
I’ve always had a desire to make things and making art objects didn’t satisfy me enough, so I started making more practical objects. Making things other people actually want to use is great.
What inspires you – where do ideas come from?
Talking to people, primarily ideas come from people, realising what people want and need.
Noticing an interesting visual coincidence of objects and either photographing it to look at again later or scrawling down an idea to bounce ideas off friends in the pub.
Or equally just tinkering about on a 3D drawing program until something fruitful happens.
Talk me through your design and making process from initial idea to end product.
My initial instinct is to draw and just keep drawing until the design or idea becomes fairly cohesive.
Then comes the playing around with objects – taking things apart and tinkering, intertwined with a good library of books to look through, is integral to developing an idea.
I spend as much time as possible figuring out the logistics of each product’s construction before an idea makes it onto the computer. Digital models follow, then renders, physical mock ups…
Which part do you enjoy the most and why?
Right at the very beginning, creating that initial spark of an idea is fantastic and being able to carry the momentum from there is one of the reasons I love design.
Describe a really good day and a really bad day in the life of Felix Proctor.
A good day consists of knowing exactly what I’m going to do and being able to do it. I’ve found that music is integral to my working, it helps distract that part of my brain that wanders off. Recently, I’ve been listening to Ludovicio Einaudi while doing CAD and Wu Tang Clan while making. It really helps me to get things done.
A bad day is when your chainsaw gets stuck in a tree and you can’t pull it out – metaphorically and physically too!
What are you most proud of?
Graduating from my degree in Sculpture at Brighton University and being invited to show at Clerkenwell Design week within the same year, starting to gain recognition for my work. It’s a great feeling.
What advice would you give to an aspiring designer?
Being totally and completely lost is a great way to find something new, but the hardest part is trying to switch back into making mode; that is what I’ve been learning this last year since graduating.
Oh and take risks – unless you’re up a ladder!
And finally, what’s your favourite colour?
Further reading for the especially geeky:
Having established confessions of a design geek in 2010, Katie Treggiden has gone on to a career in design journalism, writing for titles such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, Elle Decoration, Stylist, Design Milk and Ideal Home. In 2014, she launched Fiera, an independent magazine dedicated to discovering new talent at the world’s design fairs. Her second book, Makers of East London, was published in 2015.
See more of Katie's Posts