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Steven Cox: the Cause+Affect behind Vancouver Pecha Kucha

I wrote down 'cause and effect' on a piece of paper,” says Cox. “But 'cause and effect' is just like action and reaction – so we changed it to 'cause and affect', which is action with a purpose.” VO's newest thing: Download the interview.

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So we both spent another three years doing those things, and then we began thinking about what the next stages of our lives were going to be. I had also proposed. She had accepted.

L: How did you propose?

S:Well, it was really totally cliché, but it seemed great at the moment. I proposed in a private box on Valentine’s Day in the London Symphony Orchestra.

L: Wow. What was the production?

S: It was basically love songs, playing everybody from Bach to Tchaikovsky I think.

L: At what point of the program did you propose?

S:I don't know, it was all a blur. A big blur. But we were both convinced that the music adjusted to the moment ... and then you get the sense that the whole place is looking at you.

I rented the box, bought the other two tickets out. It was funny, because Jane said : ' Oh, it is so weird that all the other boxes are full and we have the only box for us, that's great!' and I was like, yeah, that's so great.

So, we got married back in Winnipeg because we wanted to be close to everybody. And we ended up getting married at my great-grandfather’s mansion house. It is sort of a tradition in our family, not a big wedding, maybe 100 people.

 

L: You still stayed in London for a while?

S:Yeah, we had another year in London. We married in 2002 we came back in 2003.

L: You said there was an evolution in London. I was wondering what impact London had on you guys. All of a sudden you went from Winnipeg to London. You were in the big world. What impact did that have on you two?

 

S: I think for some reason we both found ourselves very naturally fitting into the metropolis style. We were both super hungry for new, interesting, cool stuff. We were going to lectures, fashion shows, bands and all that stuff. I had this great office in the middle of Soho. It was pretty super cool ( laughs).

I think that the biggest thing for us was to learn that there are no boundaries to what you do. Meaning that you are not your job description. I'm was a registered architect. I became a registered architect in London but then I never actually did architecture. Well, perhaps a little bit, but mainly I did other stuff. I worked on music videos, I designed restaurants, airplane interiors

Same goes for Jane, who was an interior designer but beyond the first couple of years, never really did interior design.

You realize you're just a creative, design-focused person. You can talk intelligently about all kinds of things and you just start soaking all those things around you. You just became a sort of creative hub ... in a dynamic and constantly moving city.

L: Did you go to any shows or exhibits that turned your head around?

S: I don’t think that it was any particular show or exhibit, I think for me the interesting thing was that I got put in all kinds of uncomfortable situations in my design business life.

My first job was designing a house in Hampstead Heath. In the middle of the project, my boss went on maternity leave for three months. It was a learn-or-die situation. It was a modern house and I only really knew design detailing stuff from Canada, stuff that I had learned in school. Luckily, my boss thought that modern wood exterior cladding was completely appropriate. Well, people in Hampstead Heath thought it was the weirdest thing they ever saw, because that house was brick. Anyway, the house ended up being really unique, and winning a bunch of awards.

I had a bunch of these sort of strange foreign scenarios. I had another one where I was designing an art gallery for the Devon Guild of Craftsmen. Imagine this 28-year-old kid who looks like he's 22 with an American accent. He goes to the countryside in Devon and tells a bunch of 65-year-old craftsmen how to turn their 200-year-old mill into a modern gallery (laughs).

We started off incredibly adversarial but in the end, they just sort of thought I was hilarious.

After that, I spent a year working on the design of the upper-class cabin interiors for Virgin Atlantic. It was the first time they were implementing flat beds. As opposed to British Airways, who had the businesstraveller, we were catering to rock stars and models.

 

L: Did you ride in one?

S: No. I got to sit in the mockup. But Kate Moss wasn't there.

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