The skinny on Joey Roth.
Joey Roth designs products to articulate the beauty of everyday rituals. He combines simple functionality with honest, unfinished materials that become more personal as they take on a patina of use. He’s especially interested in designing tools for ephemeral experiences like tea and music. He will eventually make cars.
Joey was born in 1984 in San Francisco and grew up in Montclair, NJ. He graduated from Swarthmore in 2006 with a BA in Industrial Design Theory. His favorite musicians are the Dirty Projectors and Ghostface Killah, and his favorite authors are Umberto Eco and Haruki Murakami. When taking a break from design, he likes long-distance skateboarding and cooking with kale.
Over the last few years Joey has broke out in the industrial design world with his intricate creation of the Sorapot modern teapot, and most recently the most blogged speaker set of 2009, his Ceramic Speakers. Joey's designs question convention, challenges purpose in respect to design and sustainability, while keeping things completely simplistic and clean.
We love his approach to design, his attention to detail, and his desire to reinvent. If you have never been excited about industial design in the past, meet Joey Roth below.
Chatting with Joey Roth.
Q: Best tea to drink on a cold night?
A: Ryokucha. From Samovar in SF.
Q: Favorite gizmo/gadget you recently purchased?
A: The Panasonic GF-1 camera. I've fitted it with an amazing, old f/ 1.2 Canon lens and have started experimenting with video. I've found that photography makes me a better designer.
Q: From concept to production, how long does it usual take to create one of your products?
A: The Sorapot took about three years, and the Ceramic Speakers took about two. I never want to rush anything into production.
Q: Favorite niche kitchen appliance?
A: My masticating juicer.
Q: Most surreal career moment?
A: Seeing the first, unbelievably wrong Sorapot prototype and doubting all my plans.
Q: Favorite industrial design book?
A: In Praise of Shadows by Junichiro Tanizaki. It's an essay, but that's ok.
Q: Best part about living in San Francisco?
A: Being able to wear a hoodie all the time, to any event.
Q: When will we see a Joey Roth coffee French press?
A: I'm working on a coffee tool, but it won't be a French Press. I make my daily coffee with a simple porcelain drip filter that sits on top of my mug.
Q: First song you listened to with your ceramic speakers?
A: “Aghartha” by Sunn 0))).
Q: What are you inspired by?
A: Anything that is intense and a bit difficult.
Q: How do you consider sustainability in your work & products?
A: Sustainability is always a starting point and never an end point in my work. I strive to create objects that are sustainable, but never rely on their sustainability for value or meaning. I am very turned off by the “green” aesthetic, but realize that minimizing a physical product's impact is a baseline requirement for a successful design.
Q: When can we expect to see your new computer mouse design or desk lamp?
A: Later this year.
Q: Most ridiculous design request anyone has ever tried to commission you for?
A: All kinds of iPhone accessories.
Q: Dream retail outlet to sell any of your products?
A: My own.
Q: If you could collaborate with a particular brand or person, who would it be and what would you create?
A: I would love to work with Rei Kawakubo on some shoes.
Q: What would we find in your refrigerator?
A: Yogurt, baby carrots, takeout that should be thrown away.
Q: Favorite album of 2010 so far?
A: Contra by Vampire Weekend.
Q: Sustainable material you’d like to experiment more with?
Joey Roth's Top 5 dogs:
5. English Bulldog
4. Chow chow
2. Shiba Inu
1. Italian Greyhound
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