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João Faria Designs

João Faria Designs

Today's featured designer is João Faria. João Faria is the creator of iconic designs such as Iris, Mikado and Roots.

We had the rare opportunity to interview the exalted designer João Faria who was recently announced as the Designer of the Day by the A' Design Award and Competition. João Faria is the creator of iconic designs such as Iris, Mikado and Roots. We got exclusive answers to our questions about João Faria designs and design philosophy.
João Faria Designs
João Faria, how did you become a designer?
João Faria : Out of necessity. The objects that I wanted did not exist, so, I had to make them. Some friends liked what I did and started asking me for more…...

João Faria, what are your priorities, technique and style when designing?
João Faria : The core idea behind all of my objects is the initial concept. Let me give you an example: Emotional Object #028: Mikado. I was in the subway in Paris having a discussion with my team, just silly conversation, remembering our youth games, and Mikado came to my mind. Using the sticks of Mikado to support furniture was the “moto” and everything flowed from that. Was it possible to make a table? How about a bed? A display case? What would it look like? Was it possible? From that first idea came all the objects that you see in this line. The aesthetics are defined by the theme. The intellectual challenge is everything. Drawings or digital models are only useful to visualize and solve some of the problems that occur from this line of thought. Rendering is useful to communicate the idea for others, but there is no substitute to do a prototype by hand, only then you can value the work and difficulties of the artisans that later will make your vision a reality. Virtual has its place, but nothing comes close to put your hands on it...
João Faria Designs
João Faria, which emotions do you feel when designing?
João Faria : The first concept is a rush… but everything is enjoyable, solving issues, making the first piece by myself, watching artisans make the final object, appreciate the quality of their work. Seeing the reaction of the clients, explaining to them how the object was born...
João Faria Designs
João Faria, what particular aspects of your background shaped you as a designer?
João Faria : Countless hours spent around my grandfather, watching the movements that he made, his approach to problem-solving. Spending time in DIY stores watching all of those components and imagine what we could do with them. It has been a good journey, having fun designing stuff that we care about and like...
João Faria Designs
João Faria, what is your growth path? what are your future plans? what is your dream design project?
João Faria : Make people happy. Put something in their life that makes them smile. That is it...

João Faria, what are your advice to designers who are at the beginning of their career?
João Faria : Be humble. Don’t be a sold-out. Make stuff, don’t talk about it or theorize about it. Make it with your hands. Respect the humble worker that makes your objects. Be human. Be foolish...
João Faria Designs
João Faria, you are truly successful as a designer, what do you suggest to fellow designers, artists, and architects? João Faria : I am not successful. My work will be evaluated by my peers and my clients, but only time will tell if those objects can stand the test of time and trends...

João Faria, what is your day to day look like?
João Faria : Very normal. My life isn’t as glamorous as you might think. I have schedules, I work from 8:30 to 22:00. My work never leaves me, many insomnias, and many hours in front of a blank piece of paper or a screen. Sometimes laughing alone about some crazy idea that comes to my mind...
João Faria Designs
João Faria, how do you keep up with the latest design trends? to what extent do design trends matter?
João Faria : Sorry. I don’t care about trends. It is very easy to have success playing with the latest trend and following the herd. Although I am humble about my work, I have to believe that it will make its way to history as a classic of design from a fool that thought that could make things differently...
João Faria Designs
João Faria, how do you know if a product or project is well designed? how do you define good design?
João Faria : A good design is something that I look at it and think “I wished I had had that idea”. But most good designs are very simple and transparent, almost unnoticeable...

João Faria, how do you decide if your design is ready?
João Faria : Never. There is always something to experiment with, a new material, new technique, new finishing, new function, etc. The shape can be finished, and you have to be careful about that moment, but there are always options that you can consider. A client once told me that “when we choose to marry someone, we are giving up all the others”. When we choose a path in our designing process, we are leaving a world of possibilities behind. Those choices can always be revised later, though...
João Faria Designs
João Faria, what is your biggest design work?
João Faria : Emotional Object #014: “Iris” butter dish. A simple object that took 4 years to make it perfect. The reason that forced me to go forward with this brand, too. There was a restaurant with this name and it closed. I contacted the owners about the butter dishes that they had in the restaurant, they were simple cylinders with little holes on top, in which the butter would squeeze and pass through. Nobody knew where they were. So, I had to design my own. The first prototype was made in silver by a friend of mine and… it wasn’t it. So, it went to a drawer for four years. Time is important in the design process. After participating in a contest of design for the first time and being selected for the final, I was encouraged to make a new attempt for the next year. “Iris” got out of the drawer and got re-designed and became the object that everybody knows. Now, the difficulty is to design the objects that go with it. A line of table accessories is being studied but that second album… the second album is very, very difficult…...
João Faria Designs
João Faria, who is your favourite designer?
João Faria : So many architects and designers… I think that all designers today have had their influences. Architects: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Alvar Aalto for sure, Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando are greater than life… Even today, their designs are perfect. Designers: Dieter Rams, Philippe Starck are the first that come to my mind. But we have to be careful not to copy those designs, something that unfortunately happens too often nowadays...
João Faria Designs
João Faria, would you tell us a bit about your lifestyle and culture?
João Faria : Music is a fundamental part not only in my creative process but in my life (as I write these words, for instance, I am listening to Roxanne, by Sting, a live version of “The Secret Policeman's Other Ball 1981”). This is so true that the first object I have designed is Emotional Object #001: “We Love our Music”, a Bluetooth speaker that I made because what existed in the market was poor… I listen from classic music (my education in music was given by my family, composers, maestros and so on…) to Punk, from my rebellious phase (Nina Hagen comes to mind). It is curious that for every project there is a special song. I am blessed to work at walking distance from my house in the center of a city near Porto, a fabulous city in Portugal. My inspiration comes from my life and everything that I see anywhere, anytime, so, although I think that my culture is important for my work, I don’t limit myself to that theme...
João Faria Designs
João Faria, would you tell us more about your work culture and business philosophy?
João Faria : Let me talk about our business culture, a theme that is very important for me. First, we work with people and for people. We have a close relationship with everyone that works for us and we follow their successes and fails, their problems and happiness. It is very important for us to know that everyone is comfortable working for us and they are part of our project as well as our success. There are no numbers that can pervert that principle. Second, we like to make stuff. There is no substitute to an object, no software, no “next big idea” that will make us rich. In fact, nobody will be rich in our work. We work because we like it, money is a mean not a goal. Third, we are stubborn. Our style in not hip, not in fashion, but it is unique and defines us by who we are. I say to our collaborators many times that we have a path and we will go full steam ahead in that path, if a wall comes in our path, we will go on convinced against that wall. If we splatter against that wall, we will do so with the biggest bang. No compromises. There are many other principles in our business model but those three are the most important. Of course that those principles have consequences for our business. Our objects cost more money that our competitions’. People are getting used to having stuff without paying the real value for it, but that culture is a culture of misery, it perpetuates poor in other countries and puts pressure on our own workers and countries. We think that there is another way…. I know that we are going against the tide on this, but as I’ve just said, that is our path. We welcome the wall, let’s see if we fail or the wall is overthrown…...
João Faria Designs
João Faria, what are your philanthropic contributions to society as a designer, artist and architect?
João Faria : First and foremost, instead of thinking about making great contributions to the society, joining groups of well-intended people, look around you. All of my pieces give jobs to people that I know, I am involved in their lives, care about their health, convince them to use protective gear and pay in time and correct their work. None of my pieces is made in third world countries, with people working in bad conditions, underpaid and anonymous. Don’t make charity. Give them jobs and pay accordingly. If necessary teach them new skills, nurture them. Most of the time, all people want is an opportunity. And if you make some kind of humanitarian projects, don’t make it a marketing tool of it...
João Faria Designs
João Faria, what positive experiences you had when you attend the A’ Design Award?
João Faria : Competitions like the A’ Design Award are the way to get your work recognized. The A’ Design Award is very transparent and gives a great feedback to the contestant, so I trust the judges and the process. The benefits (if you get some kind of prize) are more than obvious, publicity around the world, validating your design and being able to use it as a tool for your clients is very important. For me personally is the fuel that makes me believe in my work and my choices as a creator. Having someone that is so distant from me evaluating my work and recognizing that there is something interesting in my designs is what keeps me going. Being a designer of the day is a humbling experience. Believe it or not, I am a very simple and accessible person. I don’t like to be in front of my designs but I’ve come to understand that all of this is part of the process of divulging my work. Designing is a beautiful experience and people that work in this area are normal people, don’t think we are special. ...
João Faria Designs
João Faria, can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
João Faria : My company is made in my image. It reflects the concept of Emotional Objects as opposed to logical ones, we don’t try to solve a problem, but making something that you will (hopefully) fall in love with...

João Faria, what is "design" for you?
João Faria : Design is to solve problems through objects or concepts, it is very logical and practical. Everything that is added to this is styling....
João Faria Designs
João Faria, what kinds of works do you like designing most?
João Faria : I would dare to say everything that catches my eye. That is why my brand has many different themes and objects from butter dishes to Bluetooth speakers and furniture, of course. ...

João Faria, what was the first thing you designed for a company?
João Faria : I don’t design for other companies, all my energy is focusing on Emotional Objects. ...
João Faria Designs
João Faria, what is your favorite material / platform / technology?
João Faria : Everything fascinates me. Wood is the perfect material, it is the only material that, when it is produced correctly, is ecological. When I work in this material, it smells good, it has a unique touch, it is alive, it is warm, and it has character. To sum up, it is perfect. ...
João Faria Designs
João Faria, when do you feel the most creative?
João Faria : Creativity comes in the most unexpected situations and places. But nothing comes from creativity alone, work is the real key to designing an object. Lots of people have ideas for something, but they don’t have the discipline to take that idea to its conclusion. Work, sweat, and tears are part of the process and they represent 90% of the objects that you see...
João Faria Designs
João Faria, what kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
João Faria : Amazed. Amazed that my concept, my idea was materialized just like my first poor drawing. Everything is there and it is beautiful....

João Faria, how do you think the "design field" is evolving? what is the future of design?
João Faria : I believe that the future will be brighter if we let designers take their ideas and concepts further without interference from profit and politicians. Design and technic try to resolve humanity’s problems every day, and if we respect their work more, the future will be better for all... João Faria, thank you for giving us the opportunity to interview you... To learn more about João Faria and check more designs by João Faria as well as to see more João Faria designs such as Iris, Mikado, and Roots visit
João Faria Designs
We hope you enjoyed our interview of João Faria. This interview was made possible by the contributions of A' Design Award and Competition - The World's largest and most influential design accolade. A' Design Award is an annual, international design award open to both concept stage and realized works by designers, artists, architects, and brands worldwide. A' Design Award and Competition aims to create public awareness and understanding of good design by promoting the best designers such as João Faria and their design works worldwide. Visit to learn more.

This article was added on Monday, 6th of April, 2020 at 10.29 am by author Frank Scott Tags: João Faria, João Faria Designs, João Faria Interview, Iris, Mikado and Roots.. Read our copyright policy here.




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