João Faria

Professional in Furniture Design.

About João Faria

João Faria is an architect from Northern Portugal. After an 18 year activity in architecture and teaching, he as 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, design is taken to it's 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 its always very limited, mostly due to the design characteristics. First of all, its a labor of love.

  • Winner of 6 A' Design Awards.
  • 5-Time Winner of Furniture Design Award.
  • Specialized in Furniture Design.
  • 6 Featured Original Designs.
  • Highly Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Furniture
  • Kitchenware
Mikado Residential furniture

Mikado Residential furniture

Furniture Design

Roots Home desk

Roots Home desk

Furniture Design

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


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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 and the project has many interventions and deciders, so I have moved from that art to the design because 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, an idea and take it to its limits, whenever it’s possible.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
My company is made at 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.
What is "design" for you?
Design is to solve problems through objects or concepts, it is very logical and practical. Everything that is added to this is styling.
What kinds of works do you like designing most?
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.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
Choosing my favourite design is like choosing a favourite 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 difficult to make something so perfect as this butter dish.
What was the first thing you designed for a company?
I don’t design for other companies, all my energy is focusing on Emotional Objects.
What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
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.
When do you feel the most creative?
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.
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 am laughing while designing some objects.
What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
Amazed. Amazed that my concept, my idea was materialized just like my first poor drawing. Everything is there and it is beautiful.
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 we do believe that it is the most satisfying and real.
When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
Honestly, when judging my work, I don’t think I am a good designer. I don’t solve problems through design. My themes are already well designed by others. Ikea has the market for this. I am a stylist of furniture. 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?
I think that when it comes to society and environment the discourse is taken by what it is politically correct. I wouldn’t dare to give my personal opinion on that as I do not want to be publicly condemned.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
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.
When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
My last exhibition was at Maison & Objet in Paris, last January. Next, we are going to New York, at ICFF May 2018. I want my objects to be known by everyone, so I am hoping that every store can show my work. We have a special program for this purpose and I hope that we will 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… Up until now, we have made 8 lines of objects, but I have 35 different 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. The brand has to expand before people can understand some of our concepts. Some are not politically correct and some are on the fringe of our culture, making it difficult to be expressed without risking too much. The inspiration comes from the news, the aesthetics of some images, normally from sources totally different from the design.
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 is 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 theme of the initial concept and express 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 very rich and it has already been a source of inspiration for one of my latest objects, “Pedro & Inês”, but you have to be very careful with this kind of themes because the tradition or heritage must be treated with respect. In “Arabesque” I talked to specialists and studied the patterns so that everything would be made correctly as well as respecting 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.
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 and respect their work, don’t copy them.
Can you talk a little about your design process?
If I decide to make some objects that have already been made, I will try to see what others have already made 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.
What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
My two cats, they 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”, not yet launched.
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 objects, which are quite complex. The art is 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.
What skills are most important for a designer?
Problem solving, curiosity, work ethics, discipline, the ability to see different things that 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 in a piece of paper. Any piece of paper. Just to remind me. Once the concept is matured, the rest is in my head. From there, 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 I am watching TV and 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 four years… Emotional Object 014: “Iris” took four years. Emotional Object #018: ExCentric took four hours (in an insomnia night).
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 cars 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 opened 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! There are designs that I want to explore 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 very simple 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.

Extended Interview with João Faria

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
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 workflow of the construction. My projects always had some details designed by me. At some point, I decided to dedicate myself to design although I do not consider myself a designer. I would say I am an explorer of ideas and concepts.
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
I became a designer 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. What I like in design the most is to explore an idea to its possible limits.
Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
I decided to become a designer so that I could design my own objects. Natural circumstances led me to that… as everything in my life.
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
I like designing everything that catches my eye. I like exploring new concepts and ideas.
What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
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 distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
A good designer solves a problem. A great designer does it with elegance.
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
A good design repects the initial concept and makes you happy and proud everytime you look at it. A good design is something that I look at it and think “I wished I had had that idea”.
What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
Good design is the only way to success. It should not be mistaken for styling.
What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
I have already designed an object that I am very proud of: Iris Butter dish. But the brand I wanted to produce this object for me has refused to do so. It is very difficult to find partners open for your concepts and ideas.
What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
Many things, a boat, for instance. I have so many ideas, the hard thing is to find the right partners.
What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
Everyday you can see new ideas and amazing designs… it wouldn’t be fair to pick just one.
What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
I would dare to say 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. In general terms, I would say that a good design is intelligent, elegant and apparently effortless.
How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
Strange as it may sound: by being humble! To be able to appreciate other designers’ work and learn from them.
If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
I wouldn’t have a clue, but I am sure life would lead me the path.
How do you define design, what is design for you?
Design is to solve problems through objects or concepts in a very logical and practical way.
What helped you to become a great designer?
I am not a great designer. I am hardworking, though I think I don’t work enough, and I try to learn something new every single day.
What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
I hope you’ll find it as amazing as I think all my objects are. No more, no less.
What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
To have my brand EMOTIONAL OBJECTS recognized as design classics everywhere.
How does design help create a better society?
Design solves problems and makes people’s lives easier… consequently, better.
Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
All of them. It is like choosing a favourite son or daughter: impossible to choose one.
What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
Ethics. Unfortunately it is in very short demand. Everyday I see designs from other colleagues copied even from renowed brands.
Where do you think the design field is headed next?
I think design should have no interference from profit and politicians. If this happens, the future will be brighter.
What is your life motto as a designer?
To make people happy. To create something to make them smile. That is it.
What is the role of technology when you design?
It defines everything. From the start, when I think of designing something, what type of manufacturing I need to make an object, the materials and techniques needed to produce something. It also helps me to visualise my objetcs and finally how I can integrate some technical solution to surprise or make someone´s life easier.
What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
I don’t prefer any color, but I like wood, I think it is the perfect material and the most challenging, it is also the only material whose production is environmental- friendly.
What do you wish people to ask about your design?
What are the stories behind my designs. Some are very funny. We laugh a lot in our office when we are discussing a new idea.
Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
Once again, my wife. Co-design is possible if there is respect and admiration between the co-creators.
Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
My designs come from my life experience, there is no single book. There is interesting piece of information even in the shortest and most boring book. To name one or a few books is reductionist.
Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
So many people, so little space… Buzz Aldrin, Portishead, Prince, Harry Winston, Steve Jobs, etc…
What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
Favorite color: every ; place: near the sea; food: almost everything; season: summer; thing: cars; brand: so many…
Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
One day coming from the Maison et Objet fair in 2017, I had this very stupid idea of making a line of furniture that is my Emotional Object #029. I can’t say the name, but I was forbidden to make that line. This line of furniture is a social critic to a country and its regime and it is not commercially viable, but for 40 minutes we were all laughing out loud in the train coming to the hotel.
What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
The day I arrive at the office with a new idea. That is a happy day. My main motivations comes from dreaming of the day that my designs are used and known.
When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
No, but the countless hours spent around my grandfather, watching the movements that he made, his approach to problem solving have surely helped.
What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
I don’t know, but I hope they do a better job than the previous generations.

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