There’s hardly any realm in our lives that has remained untouched and unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic that first halted the normal way of life nearly three years ago. From adapting our homes to function as both workplaces and leisure spots, to curating our travel and food with maximum safety and well-being in mind; from seeking multifunctional furniture items that can tend to varied activities within our homes to pursuing the company of animate and inanimate objects, all of us have foraged a solitary, happy space, an easy place. In order to help us create such havens of calmness, several designers and innovators have, over the past few years, created objects and systems that can cater to our modified lifestyles. One such designer who also tread these waters is João Teixeira. Under his eponymous design firm Teixeira Design Studio, the Portugal based product designer developed a series of objects that aim to subtly occupy our indoor spaces and ease the process of conducting our daily activities and rituals.
João Teixeira, a graduate in product design, founded his furniture design studio in 2020. Teixeira’s experience as a designer at industrial design firms and as a design curator at various creative events and workshops actively inform his current practice that inclines towards the creation of functional objects. Since the inception of his studio, the industrial designer has consistently designed minimal, adaptable and user-friendly objects that cater to some of the simplest demands by users in the market. He avoids over-complicating his creations with extravagant motifs or elaborate geometries, and instead lets the function of the objects guide their design.
STIR highlights a few products and objects most recently designed by the Teixeira Design Studio.
Perhaps the most endearing object designed by Teixeira, the Igloo table doubles as a bed for pet cats. We have all witnessed how our friends and family members, or perhaps even we, have, over the course of the pandemic, warmed up to the idea of having pets. This has also led to the installation of some quirky, sometimes bulky shelter spaces for animals within our living spaces. The Igloo table is a clean and minimal design that caters to this demand. Apart from warmly cradling pet cats, it also serves as a functional item where one can lay out their laptop and work on a project, attend a meeting or just watch a movie. The cosy quarters underneath the flat table ensure that one’s pets are nearby and available when in need for a cuddle.
“How easy it is to fill the place with pet objects and toys and turn your living room into a mess just for the sake of your beloved cat? How would a table that integrates a shelter for your pet could actually become a good idea? These were some questions that led to the concept development of Igloo,” Teixeira explains. He designed the piece in a spherical shape, keeping in mind the way cats lay down. The result is a design that looks and feels comfortable. Made out of plastic and wood that are coloured in muted tones, the table is light in weight and easy to move around, making it suitable to be used as a cat shelter and as a table.
Teixeira’s Acrobat hanger mimics the movement of gymnasts balancing themselves upon horizontal poles. Designed to work both as a rack and as a coat hanger, the piece employs the tripod function to successfully balance itself, while also keeping the design dynamic and stylish. The curved metal tubes enable the balancing of clothes, caps, and coats with ease, while the crevices on the horizontal wood bar enable the storage of wallets, keys, glasses, and other everyday accessories. The combination of quintessentially modernistic materials such as wood and metal ensures that the hanger is trendy and in vogue. Its sleek design, on the other hand, makes it a perfect fit for smaller homes.
The Burger sofa, which is a conceptual design piece, is designed with the intention of creating something that can be assembled and disassembled very easily, without the usage of any screws. This comfortable sofa can be made up by stacking four cushions against each other and tying them together with a leather and wood strap. Since it is a modular design piece, users may play with the individual pieces to create different sofa design configurations, wide enough to seat one, two or three people.
The next step in the realm of table design is definitely the provision of adaptability. Sometimes, one needs more space to work, and at other times, storage spaces are more in demand. Teixeira’s Stretch desk is built on this principle, enabling the user to decide how they’d like to configure their study. The flexible leather book stand against the wooden table makes for an interesting and playful addition. “Almost reminiscent of how paper rolls work, the idea behind the “Stretch” desk concept was to have a playful and functional leather book stand that users could adjust through swivelling pivot points placed on both sides for convenience,” explains the Portuguese designer. The leather overhang can either be stretched out and flattened to extend the workspace, or rolled back to be used for storing books and other items.
We have all, at some point, lost our mobile phones, television remotes or snacks to the comfortable couches in which we are seated, and have, perhaps always wished for a compartment or flat space where these items can be placed. The Silky sofa was developed by Teixeira following the same dilemma. “The concept was not intended to solve the problem but rather to use it as a solution for a fresh new idea,” the designer claims. So, he removed one of the seating cushions to create a gap wide enough to hold objects. The juxtaposition of the curvy wood offcuts against the smooth edged cushions give it a soft, comfortable and appealing appearance.
Inspired and named after the famous Portuguese writer and poet Fernando Pessoa, this writing desk is built to project three different personalities, much like the many heteronyms adopted by the poet during his tenure as a writer. “Pessoa desk has three levels of interaction with the user, a curved panel, a table top and a gap between the both of them which represents the present or the connection of future and past,” says Teixeira about this desk that abstracts the attributes of Alberto Caeiro, Ricardo Reis and Álvaro de Campos, three people impersonated by Pessoa in his impassioned poems. While the overall vintage appearance of the desk evokes Ricardo Reis’s classical approach to writing, the simplicity and intricacy of the piece draw inspiration from Alberto Caeiro, who believed in feeling more and thinking less. The desk comes with two storage spaces that can flexibly slide and strut, much like Álvaro de Campos’s identity, who loved and feared the future at the same time and was a bit of a pessimist. These sliding objects represent the possibility of breaking free from rules, while still staying in control.
We often crib about the lack of space that our bedside tables and stools offer. Sometimes our books fall off and at other times, our laptops don’t fit atop the stools. “With “Mate” we wanted to address this issue as a real and existing one, especially considering the post-pandemic effects that led us to new routines in regard to the work from home, intensifying the use of technology to be productive in pretty much any corner of the house,” the designer explains. This adaptable table offers the benefit of detaching or affixing the table top for an easy and clutter free experience. It caters to the very normal practice of using stools as bedside tables and vice versa, and tends, thus, to the demands of both furniture items.
Sturdy, light and balanced: the Link dining table is a perfect example of establishing a strengthened structure with the right placement of sleek elements. Crossed against each other at an angle of ninety degrees, narrow wooden legs easily support the minimalist and classy wooden furniture. “The existing gaps create different levels and this really adds a nice touch to the table’s language, which becomes less boring,” the furniture designer rightly says. Although the legs appear like they are disjointed and disconnected from the table top, the table is, in fact, bound into a cohesive whole with the help of joints, or strong “links’.
Veering away from the traditionally industrial materials, Teixeira used marble to craft the Tender table. Although designed as a minimalistic piece much like his other pieces, this table projects a bolder and stronger aura. The Tender table, which also doubles as a bench, was built by the designer as an attempt to explore the design language of bulky shapes and their impact in any given environment. Teixeira has softly combined marble and wood to create a piece that is balanced with the lightness of wood and heaviness of marble, the light texture of marble and the darker colour tones of the wood table top. Overall, its contrasting features and materiality as well as its rounded corners make it a statement piece which is neither too dominating nor an item built to disappear in the background.
Another tryst at experimentation by the product designer led to a lamp design piece touted Drop. Its form and denomination both come from the ripple effect that spreads out on the surface of a water body when a drop hits it. “You can always drop some daily tech objects on it and charge them wirelessly, like airpods or smart watches,” says Teixeira, explaining another feature of the lamp. An admirer of Gantri and Louis Poulsen, the designer focused on balancing the contrasting features of the different materials, textures and shapes used to build this piece.
“It's almost poetic presence follows the new “Japandi” design trend by mixing Japanese simplicity with Scandinavian functionality,” narrates Teixeira, informing us about the inspiration behind this coffee table design. The table features organic shapes and wavy lines, much like the folds of clothes. As bold as the design of the table is, it is also elegant. A special metal book-stand, hanging at the centre, gives the piece an edge against the traditional tables that are built with flat tops. The interesting blend of colours, shapes and materials helps establish it as a bespoke item meant to create a statement.
Some of Teixeira’s earlier furniture pieces include Drum, a simply built wood and cork stool that is also stackable; Serena, a Windsor-style chair; Fluxo, a minimalist chair design piece defined by organic curves; Gaudi chair, inspired by the renowned architect’s craft; Keeper, a shoe rack that comes with an attached bench; Knot, a minimally designed stool; and Brick, a slick sofa designed with an attached and rotatable desk.