Mary Shelley wrote that the invention is not a creation out of nothing but out of chaos. A chaos studied in detail and strongly positive. This is what João Teixeira, a product designer from Portugal, believes in. João grew up with a love for art and beauty, studying photography and visual arts. At only the age of 16 he realizes that design might be his way forward. According to João, inventing simply means being positive, winking at innovation to simplify the everyday life of man, never forgetting to respect the environment. A close theme for design. João told us about his way of seeing design and his noble projects.
I believe that we live in a world increasingly oriented towards redesign, not design.
Hello João, tell us about yourself and how did you approach design?
It is never easy to talk about ourselves, however, I can say that I am a simple person. This is also perhaps the word that best describes my approach to design. I think that when objects are simple, there are fewer things to dislike about them. Furthermore, I think it’s easier to focus on the details.
Children often tend to be inventors. Have you always wanted to become a
I've always wanted to be a lot of things, like many other kids with dreams. But no, when I was younger being a designer was never a goal. Actually, the word design only entered my vocabulary later on at the age of 16. At that age, I already had some shaped ideas, due to the arts course I attended that time. Photography, Visual Arts, Video, among others, were some possibilities. Over time and by understanding more about it, the design had easily become my only path.
What are your feelings about being capable to create something new?
That’s a good one. Mainly because of the meaning I usually give to the word. I believe that innovation should always be placed in context. Solutions already used in other areas can become totally innovative when applied to projects with different realities, either by process or materials. In this sense, I believe that innovation is synonymous with research, and being able to do research is very rewarding.
From a designer's point of view, what world are we building today?
I could say that it is a mixed feeling but that wouldn’t be fair. I believe that we are on a
good path, we are focused on finding new ways to solve known problems instead of
inventing new problems to solve and that is great. I believe that we live in a world
increasingly oriented towards redesign, not design. For example, my surfboard is
redesigned considering only the material and not its shape. On the one hand, because in terms of form, we’re talking years of research, on the other hand, because the
conventional materials used in its composition are quite toxic.
As an industrial designer, how would you adapt to the new normality. Do you consider it is important to change the way you have been designing so far?
The new normal is less strange than it was at the beginning, but it is still so hard to deal with it, especially for its harming potential. Many industries have felt the pandemic effect and many of them have made substantial changes on the way they used to work. However, I think that regarding to design and designing I didn’t have to adapt a lot. Maybe I’ve started to pay fewer visits to producers, and made more video call meetings than before but in general my modus operandi is the same than it was before.
Is there a particular tool in your work that you are fond of?
I don't know if it can be called a tool, but throughout the development process, the
experimentation phase is something I highly value for its importance as the result of the project.
What project are you most proud of?
Something in between the “Desdeco project” and the “Surfboard project”. Although “Shelter desk” has given me a lot of prominences recently, I believe that the other two are more consistent projects. The “Surfboard” because it demonstrates the importance of the design of materials in our sustainable reality, and the “Desdeco” project because it demonstrates the importance of Genius Loci and the importance of using the productive resources of each region.
How important is sustainable ethics in design?
Very important. The resources we have are less and less and it is up to the designer to create alternatives through more sustainable and ethical projects from an ecological and productive point of view.
How was the surf design project born?
The surfboard project appears as a research proposal for the IPVC Master in Integrated Design. Corticeira Amorim launched the challenge of applying the material in a different context than the one it was typically associated with (construction) and the master's course provided me with the opportunity. The research project was guided by professors Ermanno Aparo and Mafalda Lopes Laranjo.
Please, tell us something about “The Shatron Mute”. Where did this idea come from?
"Shatron" is a sustainable mute for trumpets made from recycled wood shavings and also from 3D printed carbon fiber. The design is inspired by 14th-century Russian architecture, that at that time had pyramidal configurations able to amplify the acoustics of the space. Shatron is a research project designed by Altempo (Ermanno Aparo, Liliana Soares, Jorge Passos and João Teixeira) research group in collaboration with Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo, the Research Centre for Architecture, Urbanism and Design and 11 other companies. The project is featured on some of the most important design platforms such as Designboom and has won an A’Design Award.