joey roth + viennese waltz

A couple of weeks ago we had the privilege to (virtually) tour Joey Roth’s new studio/storefront and glean valuable information about his practice. Unlike our past guests, Joey began his independent career two months after graduating with a design degree. He noted the intensity of devoting all his time and energy into a single product was enough to keep him focused in his initial period. I noticed there were several times the conversation that circled back to his passion as a driving force to get projects done.

What I found inspiring was Joey’s drive to teach himself the intricacies and mechanics of speaker technology. This was great timing for me to hear as I thrust myself into the world of coding and the Internet of Things for my thesis project. While I am all for directed education, I do recognize there are connections that wouldn’t have otherwise been made if not for self directed learning. Joey, for instance, invented a wood antenna screw based off of his own needs!

Another aspect of Joey’s practice that I admire is the range of products he designs –from the Sorapot to the ceramic speakers to the self watering planters to the design posters (personal fave) – all show control in the variety of function and materiality. Since these products are so diverse, Joey’s wife Jana has been instrumental in finding outside products to build a more comprehensive aesthetic to the brand.

Though we didn’t have the pleasure to speak with Jana personally, I chose a partner dance because Joey repeatedly expressed Jana’s essential role in the firm in addition to their desire to remain small in personnel. The Viennese Waltz is a dance that requires a partner, however as with most partner dances, there is a lead. I think this nicely illustrates their working relationship with Joey taking the lead in the design direction, much like the lead dancer would inform the line of dance. The Viennese Waltz is characterized by constant turning and intermittent moments that include change steps, Contra Checks (like a dramatic half dip), Fleckerls, and whisks. The use of the entire dance floor is what initially made me think of paring the two as it reminded me of Joey Roth’s assorted product line. Despite the movement all over the floor, it’s not erratic, rather it’s done gracefully and held together by a continuous line. Similarly, Joey’s various products are held together by and aesthetic line that is reinforced with partnership brands much like the intermittent moments in the waltz serve as reinforcement. 

This is a little closer to a true Viennese Waltz. Here is a good ol’ DWTS version with a lot of creative liberty.