Josh Itiola is a furniture planner and designer who works at Vitsoe. In the New York showroom on Bond street Josh works with clients to navigate one of the most versatile and complex furniture systems in the world. I recently sat down with Josh to talk about himself and among other things his passion for coffee.
What is your background where are you from where did you go to school what did you study etc ?
" I was born in Alabama but I feel like a native New Yorker as I’ve lived here since I was six years old. I started as a Mechanical Engineering major at SUNY Old Westbury but changed to Communications Design."
How did you end up becoming the Manager of the Vitsoe showroom ?
" Actually we don’t have a manager at our 33 Bond Street shop, or any of our shops. We don’t go for titles at Vitsoe, we think that everybody plays their equal part and defines what they do in what they get done. So I plan furniture for our customers but also look out for opportunities to make more people aware of what we do."
You seem passionate about design and Vitsoe can you talk little about what gets You excited about this product line ?
" Before I found Rams and Vitsoe I had been thinking about how important it is to live an enjoyable, responsible and sustainable life. Vitsoe puts my ideas into practice and into better words than I ever could: "living better, with less, that lasts longer."
Why is Vitsoe relevant even today when it's been around so long ?
" Vitsoe was founded in 1959 to make adaptable furniture for a post-war generation that would be constantly on the move. It turns out that we still move around quite a lot. It’s great to be able to add shelves and chairs to your existing system and then pack it into small packages to move to your new place. It was a modern idea back then that’s still relevant today." Every year new trends emerge but we remain focussed on planning furniture for people to use for their entire lives, wherever it takes them."
Who are your design heroes?
" Oh man, there are so many! Dieter Rams, of course. Also, Alvar Aalto, Ray and Charles Eames, Eero Sarrinan, Richard Serra, David Adjaye…the list goes on."
What is your next move career wise ?
" I just got married last year and moved to Harlem, and I have a great job at Vitsoe, so no plans to move right now. Everything that I’m learning here about design and long-term relationships with customers makes me want to stay and help evolve the company. I’m good right now."
If you could live anywhere…?
"I already live in the greatest city in the world, New York! But if I HAD to leave, stateside, it would be for the Pacific Northwest. Although my wife really hates the rain over there so we might have to leave the US for London or Paris."
What is cool and or interesting to you right now…?
" I find it hard to keep up! I pay more attention to things that will be around for a long time. I love a broken-in Ebbets Field hat and raw denim jeans. I’ll be wearing one or both most days. I love Victory Sportswear sneakers too as they’re a classic design and can be resoled when you wear them out."
What do you do for fun…?
" I’m a photographer, so I like to roam the city snapping away at things that inspire me. I’m also a collector; I love to find undervalued design classics and give them a new home. I bought an Alvar Aalto vase on eBay last week for $8. What a steal ! "
Coffee ? What’s up with you and coffee? You seem kind of obsessed …
" When I was a kid I had some coffee flavored candy that made me write it off. I hated it. But then my friend Andrew Chen kept bothering me to give it a try and one day he brewed me a cup and said, "If you don’t like this cup, I won’t mention coffee again." Needless to say, I was hooked. Thanks, Andrew! I love the variety of flavours you can find from different sources and by brewing it in different ways."
Can you explain how you make coffee ?
" Making a pot of coffee for me is a very involved process. I begin by boiling water. I use a gooseneck kettle as it allows for the best pour control. While the water is boiling, I weigh out the precise amount of beans I will need for the number of cups I will be making. Coffee to water ratio is important to making a good cup of coffee. After weighing the coffee beens I will grind them to a corse finish. I then pour the ground beans into the filter. Depending on the number of cups i'm making I will use a Hario v60 dripper or Chemex to hold the filter. I will start the brewing process by pouring a calculated amount of water in for the initial blooming period. The is the period where you allow gas escape which causes the grounds to swell and expand. After this I will pour the remaining amount of water needed. I will pour 60-90 grams of water at at time till I reach the amount I need. After this, I toss the filter, serve my cup and enjoy."