My name is Julian Jay Roux, but my friends call me JJ. I was born in the south of France and thats where I spent most of my childhood: in Chamonix, Provence, and Nice. However London is the city I grew up in and where I was educated. I spent most my life in London but I have lived a few years here and there between Washington, Geneva, Damascus, Aix-en Provence, and Reyjavik.
My family is spread out over the globe in the four directions and are embedded in completely different cultures. So I have learnt to be open to new information and to rapidly adapt, align, and syncronize with the different rythmes and rymes of different cultures.
I was a frustrated idealist as an adolescent. It has been a long process of maturing from misanthropic hatred of industrial civilization to making peace with the reality of life around me. I studied philosophy, politics, economics, and literature in College passing with 100%’s. After being declined by Oxford and an intense love affair my intellectual ambition to save the world blew itself out like a storm and I turned to creativity.
After an amazing sabbatical living with Bedouins in the deserts of Jordan I started reading a Drama and Creative Writing Bachelors in London with the view to work as a script writer for theatre or computer games. Towards the tail end of the first year I felt that I was living in a silk cocoon of words and thought, and that finally the life of a writer was lived too much in the world of introspection and imagination. I wanted to experience the real world beyond commentary and beyond words.
I turned to Art, and then with the view to combine creativity with intellect I turned to Design. At this point I put together a portfolio and applied to the best Design Schools I could find and was accepted in the Design Academy Eindhoven.
Within Design there are many different directions. I can say I have intuitively been moving towards User Experience and Social Design in a mix of works dominated by services, spaces, and sense objects. It is the same passion in creating a stage spaces through story and form to create an experience that I find guides me in my design process. It is also in this context that I can place my fascination with the works of James Turrell, Tokujin Yoshioka, and Olafur Elissiason, as they also reflect my interest in designed holistic experiences.
Reflecting on my creative practice after graduating from the Design Academy and where I am now as a designer/maker after this experience, I can say I have moved from being a designer of ‘things’ towards being a designer of social and material production processes that produce ‘things’. Ungrounded, abstract conceptual design that designs a thing in abstraction from a production process or material is simply autistic in the sense that such a design process is self-absorbed and disregards real-world issues and the environmental and social reality of producing and recycling that thing. In reality there are no “things” only processes: a product or design outcome is only a snap-shot moment in a single continuous global and interdependent technological, social, economic, and ecological process.
At the moment, I want to move into designing for technology and ‘smart’ product design. I am not interested in making ‘smart’ products per se, but feel technological projects could help me achieve a higher degree of interactivity and user input which I have been craving for in my project but unable to explore. I am really interested in design for social and societal issues and feel designing technological and interactive ‘smart’ products can better address that as a focus than ‘non-smart’ products. I feel I could explore political issues of democracy vs plutocracy through technology by exploring the themes of de-centralization vs centralization within technology. I also want to explore the impacts technology is having on human consciousness and interactions and political identity; so I would also like to move into a more speculative design futures way of working.