Maker Monday: Roric Tobin

For years, Roric Tobin, designer at New York design firm Bradfield & Tobin, created some of the most glamorous spaces around the world. After years of designing for Fortune 500 executives and celebrities from Soho, New York to Soho, London, Tobin launched his made-to-order furniture line. Debuted in 2019, Roric Tobin Designs is a collection featuring smooth geodes and playful shapes. Made using locally-sourced materials, Tobin has cemented his studio in the Bronx, where he and his team find new ways to display nature’s beauties. Meet Roric in our Maker Monday below, and take a look at some of his dazzling designs!

Tobin’s Agata rug, made from dyed cowhide, is inspired by a slab of geode.

Andrew Joseph: What’s your wakeup ritual?
Roric Tobin: I feed our adorable Brussels Griffon Gretchen her breakfast [she promptly returns to bed, lol]. I check my WeChat and e-mails to see if there is anything from one of our clients in Asia. If I can answer immediately, I do because it’s still working hours over there. Then I do an Instagram post. After a shower, I make a pot of tea, sit and look at domestic e-mails to see if there’s anything I can address before the office and check Facebook to see if it’s anyone’s birthday while the news is on in the background.

Andrew: How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Roric: I don’t. I’m constantly looking for inspiration or thinking about projects. Friend and design industry colleague Yuri Xavier shared a post once that just resonated with me: “Do what you love and you’ll kind of be working all of the time.”

Andrew: What modern design trend makes you cringe?
Roric: Anything boring. If I’ve seen basically the same thing a thousand times before, I don’t care if it’s tasteful, it upsets me.

 The table IS the decor in this inventive jewelry-inspired design.

Andrew: Dream country to work in? Or dream project to take on?
Roric: I realize it’s a continent, but I’ve loved working in Asia (and we work in several countries). There is a sense of being excited about the future and design possibilities that I find lacking in the West.

Andrew: Most adventurous thing you’ve done in your life?
Roric: Bungee jumping the gorge below Victoria Falls. Looking back I can’t believe I did that and would never do that again!

Roric bungee jumps in Zimbabwe.

Andrew: A book that everyone should read?
Roric: There are two books I think every designer should read. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste by Pierre Bourdieu. It’s very dense so you must read it in small doses. It academically examines the psychology and sociology of why people like (or say they like) what they do. And The Natural History of the Rich: A Field Guide by Richard Conniff. This one is comic relief. Conniff has the unique perspective of having written for both “National Geographic” and “Architectural Digest.” It’s a fascinating look into the types of clients we all deal with.

Andrew: Who is your ideal client?
Roric: An art lover open to new ideas. I love when a client has a strong sense of who they are and can make decisions. Being open and exploring the possibilities together is so exciting to me.

Andrew: What are you most excited about at this time in your life?
Roric: Launching Roric Tobin Designs has been thrilling for me.

Andrew: What’s one thing that is always in your refrigerator?
Roric: A really good vintage bottle of champagne. You should always be prepared to celebrate an accomplishment (yours or a friend’s).

About The Maker | Tobin, who moved to New York after graduating from Yale University, began his professional career as a design assistant at Geoffrey Bradfield, Inc. While taking technical classes at the School of Visual Arts, he honed his skills under Bradfield’s guidance. Over the next decade, his career continued to advance as he took on larger projects and more responsibilities – bringing his passion for art and fine antiques together with the firm’s signature of Functional Opulence. Tobin launched custom made-to-order furniture line Roric Tobin Designs in 2019.

Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine. See more of his work here

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ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME is seeker and storyteller of the sublime in living. It is a global guide to in-depth and varied views of beauty and shelter that stirs imagination; that delights and inspires homeowners as well as art and design doyens. Collaborating with emergent and eminent architects, artisans, designers, developers and tastemakers, ASPIRE creates captivating content that savors the subjects and transports with stunning imagery and clever, thought-provoking writing. Through lush and unique visuals and a fresh editorial lens, ASPIRE explores what is new and undiscovered in art, interiors, design, culture, real estate, travel and more. ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME is an international narrative and resource for all seeking the sublime.