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Product Designer & Maker


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Hi, I'm Leão,

and I believe products should be more than just functional forms. The way we design and make the products of the future shall reflect our community and the impact we create. Nowadays, through Digital Fabrication and sharing of knowledge via Open Design we can make (almost) anything!  By having this capability of making anything, the question is no longer  what we make but how and why we make it.

Maker Island emerges as a platform for learning and innovation: a place to play, to create, to learn, to mentor, to invent.

I'm seeking to explore approaches to design that are more collaborative and distributed as a means to create better products built from a bottom up approach, simultaneously creating beautiful solutions to everyday problems.


João Leão is a designer, professor and maker currently residing in Porto, Portugal. Born and raised in Porto, Leão started making and exploring nature at a young age in his garden and his grandfather's workspace. After discovering his passion for nature and making things, Leão went on to study Electronic Engineering at the Engineering Institute of Porto were he dropped out after a year of studies. Still fuelled by the passion to invent he started a self-taught path in the areas of Making, Digital Fabrication and Design at a local Fab Lab.


This path led him to pursue the studies of "Principles and Applications of Digital Fabrication" (Fab Academy) at Fab Lab Barcelona lectured by MIT's Professor Neil Gershenfeld graduating in 2016. This course opened the opportunity to become the Fab Lab Manager of OPO'Lab, bring Precious Plastic to Portugal and sparked the interest in Product Design where he further explored through a Master's in Industrial and Product Design at the University of Porto graduating in 2019.

He left OPO'Lab in 2018 to pursue new opportunities and Co-founded a Fab Lab, VIVALab, focused on the areas of Design, Education and Innovation as he felt Porto needed a new Fab Lab focused in the community that sparked innovation and collaboration to solve local problems at a global scale.


He is an Assistant Professor at Universidade do Porto in the Master's in Industrial and Product Design. In his free time, he loves experimenting in cooking, photography and radical sports.

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