João Faria

Very Good in Furniture Design.

João Faria

About João Faria

João Faria is an architect from Northern Portugal. After an 18 year activity in architecture and teaching, he has devoted his time to designing objects that really meant something for him. Emotional Objects is born from this passion. He designs objects for his needs and hopes that someone else likes it too. Objects are created from this need and then, the design is taken to its limits, without compromises. João makes its own prototypes and tests its ideas and solution like a sculptor. After testing one or several solutions, its time to choose the best artisans to make it feasible. Manufacturing it's always very limited, mostly due to the design characteristics. First of all, its a labour of love.

  • Winner of 8 A' Design Awards.
  • Very Good in Furniture Design.
  • Original Design.
  • Highly Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Kitchenware
  • Furniture
Iris Butter dish

Iris Butter dish

Kitchenware Design

Emotional Object #020: "Gift wrap" Coffee table

Emotional Object #020: "Gift wrap" Coffee table

Furniture Design

Emotional Object #010 Roots Coffee table

Emotional Object #010 Roots Coffee table

Furniture Design

Emotional Object # 018: Excentric Office furniture

Emotional Object # 018: Excentric Office furniture

Furniture Design

Mikado Residential furniture

Mikado Residential furniture

Furniture Design

Roots Home desk

Roots Home desk

Furniture Design

Mix and Match Seat

Mix and Match Seat

Furniture Design

Lazy Day Collection Seating

Lazy Day Collection Seating

Furniture Design


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Interview with João Faria

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?
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.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
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.
What is "design" for you?
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.
What kinds of works do you like designing most?
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.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
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.
What was the first thing you designed for a company?
I don’t design for other companies; all my energy is focused on Emotional Objects.
What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
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.
When do you feel the most creative?
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.
Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
The concept. The first idea and taking it to its conclusion without compromising it.
What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
Happiness. A profound and unbelievable joy. Many times I laugh while designing some objects.
What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
Amazed. Everything is there, and it is beautiful. I always become surprised that my idea was made like my first poor drawing.
What makes a design successful?
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.
When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
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.
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
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.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
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.
When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
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.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
How do you work with companies?
I don’t. It has never happened until now. But it would be an exciting experience because ideas for new pieces are constantly emerging.
What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
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.
Can you talk a little about your design process?
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.
What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
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”.
Can you describe a day in your life?
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.
From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
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.
What skills are most important for a designer?
Problem-solving, curiosity, work ethics, discipline, the ability to see things other people don’t care about, connecting different concepts from totally different areas.
Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
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.
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
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.
How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
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.
What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
How did you get this idea? Another, mostly during trade shows, is how (some of) the objects standstill.
What was your most important job experience?
Architecture, being in the construction site solving problems, talking to workers, and learning from them.
What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
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.
Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
For now, I work alone, but the brand is open to others as long as they understand the concept.
Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
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.
How can people contact you?
E-mail is the most usual: joao@emotionalobjects.com. I am a straightforward man; you can contact me anytime.
Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
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.

Designer of the Day Interview with João Faria

Could you please tell us about your experience as a designer, artist, architect or creator?
I am an architect by training. My projects always had some details, 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.
How did you become a designer?
Out of necessity. The objects I wanted for myself did not exist, so I had to make them. Some friends liked what I did and started asking me for more.
What are your priorities, technique and style when designing?
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 discussing 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? All the objects you see in this line came from that first idea. The theme defines aesthetics. The intellectual challenge is everything. Drawings or digital models are only helpful for visualizing and solving some of the problems from this line of thought. Rendering is beneficial to communicate the idea for others, but there is no substitute to do a prototype by hand; only then can you value the artisans' work and difficulties that later will make your vision a reality. Virtual has its place, but nothing comes close to putting your hands on it.
Which emotions do you feel when designing?
The first concept is a rush. But everything is enjoyable, solving issues, making the first piece by myself, watching artisans make the final object, appreciating the quality of their work, seeing the clients' reactions, and explaining how it was born.
What particular aspects of your background shaped you as a designer?
Countless hours were spent around my grandfather, watching his movements and approach to problem-solving. Also, spending time in DIY stores watching all of those components and imagining what we could do with them. It has been a good journey, having fun designing stuff that we care about and like.
What is your growth path? What are your future plans? What is your dream design project?
Make people happy. Put something in their life that makes them smile. That is it.
What are your advices to designers who are at the beginning of their career?
Be humble. Don’t be 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.
You are truly successful as a designer, what do you suggest to fellow designers, artists and architects?
I am not successful. My peers and my clients will evaluate my work, but only time will tell if those objects can stand the test of time and trends.
What is your day to day look like?
Very normal. My life isn’t glamorous as you might think. I have a schedule, and I work from 8:30 to 22:00. My work never leaves me; I have many insomnias and spend many hours in front of a blank piece of paper or a screen. Sometimes I discover myself laughing alone about some crazy idea that comes to mind.
How do you keep up with latest design trends? To what extent do design trends matter?
Sorry. I don’t care about trends. It is very easy to succeed playing with the latest trend and following the herd. Although I am humble about my work, I believe that it will make its way to history as a classic of design from a fool who thought it could make things differently.
How do you know if a product or project is well designed? How do you define good design?
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.
How do you decide if your design is ready?
Never. There is always something to experiment with: a new material, technique, finishing, 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 design process, we leave a world of possibilities behind. Those choices can continuously be revised later, though.
What is your biggest design work?
Emotional Object #014: “Iris” butter dish. It is a simple object that took me four years to make 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 they had in the restaurant; they were simple cylinders with tiny 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, but it wasn’t what I wanted. So, it went to a drawer for four years. Time is essential in the design process. After participating in a design contest for the first time and being selected for the final, I was encouraged to make a new attempt for the following 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 things that go with it. A line of table accessories is being studied, but that second album… the second album is complicated…
Who is your favourite designer?
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 and Tadao Ando are both greater than life. Even today, their designs are perfect. Designers: Dieter Rams or Philippe Starck are the first that come to my mind. But we have to be careful not to copy those designs, which unfortunately happens too often nowadays.
Would you tell us a bit about your lifestyle and culture?
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 love 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 classical music to Punk, from my rebellious phase (Nina Hagen comes to mind). My family gave me an education in music; some are composers, others maestros, etc. It is curious that for every project, there is a particular song. I am blessed to work within walking distance from my house in the center of a city near Porto, a fabulous town in Portugal. My inspiration comes from my life and everything that I see anywhere, anytime, so, although I think that my culture is essential for my work, I don't limit myself to that theme.
Would you tell us more about your work culture and business philosophy?
Let me talk about our business culture, a theme that is very important for me. First, we work with persons and for persons. We have a close relationship with everyone that works for us, and we follow their successes and failures, their problems and happiness. We need to know that everyone is comfortable working for us and they are part of our project and our success. There are no numbers that can pervert that principle. Second, we like to make stuff. There is no substitute for an object, software, or “next big idea” that will make us rich. Nobody will be rich from our work. We work because we like it; money is a means, not a goal. Third, we are stubborn. Our style is not hip, not in fashion, but it is unique and defines us by who we are. Many times, I say to our collaborators that we have a path, and we will go full steam ahead in that path; if a wall comes in our way, we will go on convinced against that wall. If we splatter against that wall, we will do so with the biggest bang. No compromises. Our business model has many other principles, but those three are the most important. Of course that those principles have consequences for our business. Our objects cost more money than 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 workers and governments. We think that there is another way. I know we are going against the tide on this, but that is our path like I’ve just said. We welcome the wall; let’s see if we fail, or the wall is overthrown.
What are your philanthropic contributions to society as a designer, artist and architect?
First and foremost, instead of making outstanding contributions to society, joining groups of well-intended people, look around you. All of my pieces give jobs to people I know; I am involved in their lives, care about their health, convince them to wear protective gear, pay for their work correctly and in time. None of my pieces is made in third world countries, with people working in bad conditions, underpaid and anonymous. We don’t make charity. We give 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 do some humanitarian projects, don’t make it a marketing tool of it.
What positive experiences you had when you attend the A’ Design Award?
Competitions like the A’ Design Award are the way to get your work recognized. The A’ Design Award is very transparent and gives excellent feedback to the contestant, so I trust the judges and the process. The benefits (if you get some prize) are more than obvious; publicity around the world, validating your design, and using it as a tool for your clients are significant. For me is the fuel that makes me believe in my work and my choices as a creator. Having someone so distant from me evaluating my work and recognizing that something is interesting in my designs is what keeps me going. Being designer of the day is a humbling experience. Believe it or not, I am a straightforward and accessible person. I’m not particularly eager to stand up, but I’ve come to understand that this is part of the process of showing my work. Designing is a beautiful experience, and people that work in this area are ordinary people. I don’t think we are unique.

Extended Interview with João Faria

Could you please tell us about your experience as a designer, artist, architect or creator?
I am an architect by training. I have 20 years in solving problems in architecture and design, knowing everybody’s work, and studying the best solutions that fit the client’s needs while respecting the construction workflow. My projects always had some details designed by me. I decided to dedicate myself to creating, although I do not consider myself a designer. I would say I am an explorer of ideas and concepts.
How did you become a designer?
I became a designer out of necessity. The objects I wanted for me did not exist, so I had to make them. Some friends liked what I did and started asking me for more. What I like in design the most is the possibility of exploring an idea until its possible limits.
What are your priorities, technique and style when designing?
I decided to become a designer to design my objects. Natural circumstances led me to that, as everything in my life.
Which emotions do you feel when designing?
I like designing everything that catches my eye. I like exploring new concepts and ideas.
What particular aspects of your background shaped you as a designer?
Frankly, I do not consider myself a legend. I am not even sure if I am a good designer. However, my advice would be: work hard and stay humble. This way, you are more open to new ideas.
What is your growth path? What are your future plans? What is your dream design project?
A good designer solves a problem. A great designer does it with elegance.
What are your advices to designers who are at the beginning of their career?
A good design respects the initial concept and makes you happy and proud every time you look at it. A really good design is something that I look at it and think, “I wished I had had that idea”.
You are truly successful as a designer, what do you suggest to fellow designers, artists and architects?
Good design is the only way to success. It should not be mistaken for styling.
What is your day to day look like?
I have already designed an object that I am very proud of: the Iris Butter dish. But the brand I wanted to produce this object for me has refused to do so. It isn't easy to find partners open for your concepts and ideas.
How do you keep up with latest design trends? To what extent do design trends matter?
Many things, like a boat, for instance. I have so many ideas; the hard thing is to find the right partners.
What is your biggest design work?
Every day you can see new ideas and unique designs. It wouldn’t be fair to pick just one.
Who is your favourite designer?
I would dare to say Emotional Object #014: “Iris” butter dish. A simple object that took four years to make perfect. The reason that forced me to go forward with this brand, too. In general terms, I would say that good design is intelligent, elegant, and, apparently, effortless.
Would you tell us a bit about your lifestyle and culture?
Strange as it may sound: by being humble! To be able to appreciate other designers’ work and learn from them.
Would you tell us more about your work culture and business philosophy?
I wouldn’t have a clue, but I am sure life would lead me the path.
What are your philanthropic contributions to society as a designer, artist and architect?
Design is to solve problems through objects or concepts in a very logical and practical way.

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