Meet Joel : Vivo designer and 'Essentialist'



As a designer, I love objects but ironically, I have very few.

Even before I became a designer, I already loved objects. All throughout my childhood I have been collecting model cars, planes, figurines… I’ve always been interested by their shape and their function. I wanted to know how it was made or what was inside and ultimately ended up unmaking all the components. The problem was often that once I understood what I wanted to know, I would lose interest for that object until I found a new one. Today I know how things are made. My design education as well as my passion push me to understand all the making processes. It’s still a game like when I was a kid. The only difference is that now I can distinct a good product from a bad product and make the right purchase.

I moved to London three and half years ago. Because of the nature of my work I travel a lot, also London is a city where it takes time to set up so I moved a lot. Being constantly on the move forces you to minimize your possessions. I love to travel light and fast with just what I need.



My passion for good products plus my constant movement merged to shape my everyday life. Some people call me a minimalist, but I prefer the word essentialist. I do not try to live with as little as possible just for the sake of it, instead I try to buy and use only what I need. Living a minimalist life could lead to privation and compromise, that’s why I prefer the term essentialist. Because essential comes from essence which is the substance, the basic. The basic to live your everyday life but also the basic to make you happy. If you love reading, if it is essential to you, you should not sacrifice your passion for the sake of not having books.



It is in human nature to always want more. However rich we are, we will be satisfied but for a short period of time only. Like when I was kid, once we’ve appreciated a new product, we lose interest and need a new toy. Not because we want to but because we can and get told so.

The world is loaded with products, we have all but we always want more. We want more because we see more. We are constantly targeted by new, new car, new phone, new TV… But do we really need it? 



I try to incorporate essentialism principles not only to my everyday life but also to the creation process. Design should be out of time and essential. But, as in your everyday life, if a product is too minimal, it’s going to look cold and spiritless. That’s the job of the designer, to find that right balance between form and function, and give that little something to the product.

Reducing possessions and more intelligent purchase are essential to control our consumption and be more sustainable.

To do so I set up a couple of rules, when I see an interesting product I always ask myself:

-       Do I really need it?

-       Am I going to use it more than once?

-       Is it going to last long?

-       If you buy this item then you need to get rid of something you haven’t used in the last year.

So next time you go to the shop and feel tempted by that crazy jumper or that super phone, ask yourself these questions.



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