Growing up in Colchester, Essex, the UK’s oldest recorded Roman town, gave me a reverence for history and respect for superior and creative engineering. As a child, I loved nothing more than looking at the intricacy and ingenuity of the Romans’ sewer systems, the ruins of which were still in evidence near my home.
At the same time, thanks to my father’s love of cars, I developed a strong sentiment for functional engineering. My father and I would spend time working together on his American hot rod, a 1955 Chevy Bell Air. He would polish it until it gleamed with perfection. I marveled at the beauty of this vehicle with its sensual curves and exquisite engine. And it cultivated a passion for all things mechanical that has never left me.
But it wasn’t just any old car that fascinated me. I was intensely interested in the racing thoroughbreds of the road – Ferraris, Porsches and Aston Martins. Like many other young boys in the 1970s, I idolized the suave and sophisticated James Bond. I imagined myself driving along the winding roads of the Italian Amalfi Coastline in a sexy sports car!
My mother was a signwriter with an artistic and imaginative nature. Her influence gave me creative finesse. My father was logistical and lateral his thinking. He was responsible for my practical side.
In the early 80’s after I discovered the movie Star Wars, my passion for futuristic design was realized. Much as I appreciated the history of construction, I was sick to death of castles! Seeing all the glossy surfaces in the spaceships, the way lighting made everything look so futuristic, and the cutting-edge styling of this ‘other’ world, ignited a passion for the ultra-modern. My imagination would run away with me as I came up with concepts and ideas for space travel vehicles and stylized interiors populated with gadgets and gizmos. In my mind, they would have looked at home in the 21st Century. As a young boy, I had no idea this was the first seed sown, leading me on my career path to be a multi-disciplined designer.
A stint studying art and design for two years saw me spending more time with the technicians learning how to physically piece parts together (and blowing them up!). This combination of machinery and model making was my sweet spot. And it was coupled with my desire to discover how to push technology to its limit in my creations. Meanwhile, I was deejaying in between my lectures. I found myself paying more and more attention to the interiors of the nightclubs I was playing in. I was drawn to exaggerated and dramatic designs. I started analyzing the lighting and décor coming up with ways to improve the packed crowd’s visual experience.
Illumination can change the look of a room or feature completely. You can create a different mood in one move and incorporate and add layers of sensuality and sophistication to space. A nightclub is an example of a room that can be transformed with the flick of a switch. The lighting can give it a wow factor and alter your experience. Working in these interiors, albeit in a very different capacity, gave me the grounding for my design career in illuminated artworks and furniture designs. This inspired me to start Rousseau Design in 2001 after I was asked by Max Fraser, the esteemed author who co-wrote ‘Designers on Design’ with luminary originator Sir Terence Conran, to appear at Designers Block in London and Milan.
While I love creating statement artworks and engaging interiors, my goal is to create stunning homes for people to live in a more modern world and environment of the future.
When I’m not designing and creating, I love to go surfing because there is no better energy than the ocean’s power. My family is very important to me, and I want my son and daughter to explore and respect their environment. We also spend time painting and building and they are learning how to use the tools of my trade!
I am always seeking new inspiration for my designs and interiors. One of the most spectacular sights I’ve seen was the Aurora Borealis while in arctic Sweden. It was mind-blowingly beautiful. The geometry that exists in nature intrigues me and provides the bedrock for much of my work. At 6ft 5inches tall, I also try and come up with designs and interiors that someone of my stature would feel comfortable with! Your space and any object within it must provide you with contentment, relaxation, functionality and excitement.
My desire for my family is they have a happy and fulfilled life. Watching them live and interact with my designs, showing curiosity and intrigue, brings me enormous joy. And this is what I want to bring to you as a client. So you can surround yourself with space, or an item, that’s beautiful and unique. I want you to be in an environment that tells you a story, and amplifies your enjoyment of the world around you.