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Interview with João Faria

Home > Designer Interviews > João Faria

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer João Faria (JF) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of João Faria by clicking here.

Interview with João Faria at Wednesday 9th of March 2022
João Faria
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
JF: I am an architect by training. My projects always had some details designed by me, and people loved that kind of attention. In architecture, there are several protagonists. The project has many interventions and deciders, so I have moved from that art to the design. Now I can decide for myself and develop my ideas without any outside interference. But let’s be clear, I am not a designer; I am not concerned about resolving situations or problems through design. In my work, I try to explore a concept or idea and take it to its limits whenever possible.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
JF: My image makes my company. It reflects the concept of emotional objects instead of logical ones. We don’t try to solve a problem but do something with which we will (hopefully) fall in love.

FS: What is "design" for you?
JF: Design solves problems through objects or concepts; it is very logical and practical. Everything that adds to this is styling. It is no accident that our signature phrase is "More Than Function". There are thousands of other brands to fulfill the expected functions of objects; instead, our pieces are much more than that. They provoke emotional reactions; people may like it or not, but they are never indifferent.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
JF: I would dare to say everything that catches my eye. My brand has many different themes and objects, from butter dishes to Bluetooth speakers and furniture, of course.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
JF: Choosing my favorite design is like choosing a favorite son or daughter. But Emotional Objects #014: “Iris” butter dish comes to my mind because it will be a classic of our concept, and it has been challenging to make something so perfect as this butter dish. Recently, I went deep into the upholstery design. I have a piece that was imagined a few years ago, the sofa LAZY DAY, but, back then, I was not happy with it. I am so excited about the final result now that we have submitted it for a design contest.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
JF: I don’t design for other companies; all my energy is focused on Emotional Objects.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
JF: Everything fascinates me. Wood is the perfect material; it is the only material that is ecological when it is produced correctly. When I work with this material, it smells good; it has a unique touch; it is alive, warm, and has character. To sum up, it is perfect.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
JF: Creativity comes in the most unexpected situations and places. But nothing comes from imagination alone; work is the real key to designing an object. Many 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 you see.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
JF: The concept. The first idea and taking it to its conclusion without compromising it.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
JF: Happiness. A profound and unbelievable joy. Many times I laugh while designing some objects.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
JF: Amazed. Everything is there, and it is beautiful. I always become surprised that my idea was made like my first poor drawing.

FS: What makes a design successful?
JF: I don’t know. I think it depends on how many people are moved by your work. Publicity is a way to go; getting your work to be known is quite important. Although we have decided that our objects should be known for their quality, so we don’t pay for publicity. It is a much harder road, but it is the most satisfying and authentic.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
JF: Honestly, I don’t think I am a good designer when judging my work. I am a stylist of furniture. I don’t solve problems through design. My themes are already well designed by others. Ikea has the market for this. If you want some object to solve you a problem, go to IKEA; on the other hand, if you want an object that makes you smile every time you look at it, try to choose something with character, an Emotional Object.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
JF: When it comes to society and the environment, the discourse is taken by what is politically correct. I wouldn’t dare to give my personal opinion on that as I do not want to be publicly condemned. In our case, the concern with the environment and social responsibility is growing. We are becoming greener and more aware of responsible capitalism and social values. We try to implement these principles daily to employees, suppliers, and, of course, ourselves. But it also makes us more critical of how some brands work and produce.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
JF: I believe that the future will be brighter if 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. For example, with Covid-19, many of the solutions for living with the virus in the medium term will be through design.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
JF: My last exhibition was at Decorex 2019 in London. In March 2022, we will be in Paris at Maison et Objet. We increased online communication through the website and social networks between this gap. However, I want my objects to be known by everyone, so I hope that every store can show my work. We have a particular program for this purpose, and I hope to see results very soon.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
JF: Inspiration is not a problem. The inspiration comes from the news and some images' aesthetics, usually from sources totally different from the design. We have made 17 lines of objects up until now, but I have 41 other lines already waiting for my time to work on them. However, I may also say that the market is not ready for some of these ideas yet. Some are not politically correct, and some are on the fringe of our culture, making it difficult to be expressed without risking too much. Before people can understand some of our concepts, the brand has to expand.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
JF: My design doesn't follow the mainstream taste. The style is as different as it can be. Urban clear images for the line ExCentric, classical for "Pedro & Inês", none of my work are similar or repetitive. It is a much more difficult road than designing what everybody else is designing. Nordic style is strong now, and reinterpreting old classics is easy. That is not my path and, certainly, not my style. My approach is taking the initial concept's theme and expressing it in an object without compromises.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
JF: I live in Portugal. My country is almost 900 years old. My cultural heritage is rich and has already been a source of inspiration for one of my objects, "Pedro & Inês", but you have to be very careful with this kind of theme because the tradition or heritage must be treated with respect. For instance, in "Arabesque", I talked to specialists and studied the patterns to do everything correctly and respect the theme. There will be other Portuguese themes in our objects, but, once again, we have to be respectful and design things with the care that they deserve.

FS: How do you work with companies?
JF: I don’t. It has never happened until now. But it would be an exciting experience because ideas for new pieces are constantly emerging.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
JF: Prepare an excellent briefing with clear ideas, make a competition, respect their work, and don’t copy them. In the end, both will benefit from this collaboration. Fashion excels in this type of partnership.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
JF: If I decide to make some objects, I will try to see what others have already done and get some inspiration in some parts of their concept without copying the design. Then I study if there is another way of doing it bearing all those aspects in mind. But for us, the piece must be original; otherwise, we will not proceed with it.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
JF: My three cats that are as annoying as beautiful; a display case with my collection of stuff (it will be Emotional Object #003: “Flaunt It”) designed by me, not yet commercialized; a useless Juicy Salif citrus squeezer designed by Phillip Starck, a classic design object, just as I hope Iris will be one day; and lastly, my sofa designed by someone and source of inspiration for the Emotional Objects #009: “Lazy Day”.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
JF: My days are more ordinary than you might think; there is nothing glamorous in a designer’s life. It is serious work. I don’t spend time looking at mood boards, doodling, or watching the sky. My time is spent solving my pretty complex objects. I try to make all of them look effortless, but that doesn’t mean it is easy to get there.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
JF: Hard work and dedication are essential. Luck is everything.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
JF: I am a little bit different from the rest. I am lucky to be able to do whatever I want to. I am spoiled. The negative is working without knowing if anybody else likes our work; the recognition is our fuel. The awards are the drawings' validation.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
JF: Respect the concept and be original.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
JF: Problem-solving, curiosity, work ethics, discipline, the ability to see things other people don’t care about, connecting different concepts from totally different areas.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
JF: Pen and pencil first. I draw my first idea and take some notes on a piece of paper. Any piece of paper, just to remind me. Once the concept is matured, the rest is in my head. Then, I go to a CAD program to put dimensions and study the feasibility. Then my Lab. I make all my prototypes before sending them to production. It is my quality time.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
JF: Designing for me isn’t time-consuming because I am always thinking in the back of my head. Sometimes, while watching TV, I have an idea or a problem solved.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
JF: Sometimes a week, sometimes years. Emotional Object 014: "Iris" took four years. Emotional Object #018: ExCentric took four hours (insomnia night). Emotional Object 009: "Lazy Day" took almost ten years! It all depends.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
JF: How did you get this idea? Another, mostly during trade shows, is how (some of) the objects standstill.

FS: What was your most important job experience?
JF: Architecture, being in the construction site solving problems, talking to workers, and learning from them.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
JF: Private, very private. But mostly Interior Designers.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
JF: Any. If you have the right attitude, everything can be interesting. I remember a garage for a client’s car and a dog’s house, which gave me the same pleasure to design.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
JF: Try to make Emotional Objects recognized everywhere.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
JF: For now, I work alone, but the brand is open to others as long as they understand the concept.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
JF: So many. But I can’t talk about them. Look at our brand. I can only guarantee you will be amazed. It is not a publicity stunt: the best is yet to come! I´m exploring designs that will be difficult to sell but, certainly, will be works of art.

FS: How can people contact you?
JF: E-mail is the most usual: joao@emotionalobjects.com. I am a straightforward man; you can contact me anytime.

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
JF: The experience that comes from manufacturing yourself the objects is something downplayed by this younger generation but make no mistake: the training and learning that comes from the materials and their techniques are crucial for a designer. Don’t think that computers and CAD solve everything.


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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