CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR CREATIVE BACKGROUND?
I grew up in rural Fife and studied Architecture in Dundee before lots of travel and practice in different places led to founding my own architecture and design practice, colinross:workshop, in Edinburgh. I’ve always been interested in a broad creative practice, in part inspired by studying ideas of ‘total design’ in art college. Collaboration has also been part of my practice from an early stage and a set of cutlery designed and made with a jewellery student is still one of my favourite outcomes. My approach and creative outlook has also been shaped by many years teaching and a love of drawing which is at the core of all my work. Early in my career I was lucky to receive a drawing commission to record the architecture of Vietnam- looking back, that was the catalyst for the passion I now have for drawing…that magic process of mind-hand-drawing connection.
CAN YOU GIVE US AN INSIGHT INTO YOUR PRACTICE AND WHAT YOU DO?
I have a small creative practice that explores design outcomes across scales and disciplines. I’ve been fortunate to work on a lot of ambitious projects in the UK and abroad and much of my work in the last 10 years has been front end concept design focused. I work hard to keep my portfolio diverse and current projects range from larger scale strategic planning through to interior retail concepts. Drawing specific outcomes include commissions and published books.
ANY EXCITING PROJECTS OR EVENTS YOU HAVE ON THE HORIZON?
I’ve been working on design projects in Switzerland and China again recently which has been fun and energising. These are larger scaled proposals with user experience at the heart of the work. A visual art project exploring Scottish industrial landscapes has been developing over the last few years and I’m excited about emerging drawings and sculptural outcomes which I plan to exhibit this year. I’m also planning to stretch my range a little more through collaboration with textiles designers and some drawing based printed outcomes will hopefully emerge in 2018.
WHAT MAKES EDINBURGH A GOOD CITY TO BE BASED?
As an architect the city offers good access to design team consultants and design creatives. The city location has been important to me as it offers easy travel options and I teach in Newcastle once a week. I love being outside and I can see the Forth from my house, run on Arthur’s Seat and have regular trips to Porty beach with the kids. It’s important to me that I’m not living in too refined a place and Edinburgh’s more raw industrial side is a healthy counterpoint to its city centre heritage and more obvious charm.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE THINKING OF PURSUING A CAREER IN THE CREATIVE INDUSTRIES?
Go for it- do your homework on courses and don’t be scared to speak to different designers about their work for background research. As a student and in early career read a lot to know your design history and develop an opinion- there’s a big world out there to learn from and apply yourself to. Embrace drawing to communicate quickly with others and as an immediate way to develop thoughts and outcomes. Finally- work hard at making contacts within creative industries and across a wider network.
Find out more about Colin's work, and follow his progress, here.