Jim Rokos

London, United Kingdom

“People with dyslexia exhibit a unique form of creativity,” professes London-based industrial designer and dyslexic, Jim Rokos. Accentuating the learning difficulty's beneficial skew toward nontraditional problem solving, Rokos designs are playful and poetic—like a paw-activated cat bowl and a self-wilting vase—showcasing a mind augmented by the full kaleidoscopic dimensions of lateral and visual thinking.

Born 1973 in London, Rokos originally practiced model-making in the film and television industry, with projects for The Muppet Treasure Island, Band of Brothers, Tomb Raider, and the Victoria & Albert Museum. In 2001, Rokos’ innovative cat bowl design, Cat Flip, laid the framework for his later shift into industrial design; a robust debut, the design notably won the inaugural episode of the BBC’s Best Inventions program and eventually sold 50,000 copies across Europe.

Rokos went on to teach at a special needs school in London before completing a Master’s (2006) in Industrial Design at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design. Before founding his eponymous studio in 2011, Rokos interned under visionary Cypriot-born, London-based designer Michael Anastassiades.

From his London studio—which, in 2012, moved from Acton to Kensington—Rokos explores the physical properties of materials to create intriguing concepts that aestheticize their own utility. His 13° 60° 104° Wine Decanter (2012), for example, a 2012 Red Dot Design awardee, takes on the mood of its imbibing users, offering three sitting angles to contour their shift from sober (13º) to tipsy (60º) to drunk (104º). Rokos’ Gauge Vase (2014)—winner of both an Enterprise Europe Network Award in 2014 and German Design Award in 2017—is perfectly calibrated when filled with water, but then hypnotically tips as its flowers drink up, nudging refill.

In 2016, Rokos curated the very first Dyslexic Design exhibition, designed by Ab Rogers and hosted by Designjunction, in which perceptions of dyslexia were challenged by the highly innovative designs of dyslexic creatives. A Silver Winner in the London Design Awards (category: Pop-Ups, Display, Exhibit & Set Design), the exhibition was also nominated for the iF Social Impact Prize 2017 for Health & Demographic Change.