The Fourth Wall: Matthew Waldman, Nooka

We’re always looking at new ways to visualize and organize information, which immediately drew us to Nooka founder, Matthew Waldman, completely redefining the visual language of time.

The brand's concept makes sense universally, even though it’s a totally new approach to the interpretation of time that has been engrained in many of us for quite awhile. 

Nooka brings tangibility, and freshness, to the age-old concept of time: how we spend, how we express it, and even how it can be designed, with intelligently crafted timepieces and products.  

Here we chat with the forward-thinking founder on some of the tenets of the design house. 

1. Tell us more about the Mindstyle concept, and how it plays into your design process. 

"LIFESTYLE" is such an overused term in the fashion and product business, and yes, NOOKA produces products. In the case of NOOKA, everything we produce is a physical manifestation of an idea. I want my products to stimulate the mind and engender new ideas. this is "MINDSTYLE®"

2. The concept of universal language resonates with our use of images and shapes to communicate - how would you say it plays into the Nooka brand? 

Most NOOKA watch faces can be read with no knowledge of math or our base-12 way of expressing time on earth. This is an exercise in passive intelligence using a universal visual language. All our designs are easy to figure out with no instruction. This is our underlying philosophy!

3. Form. Function. Emotion. - if you had to add another word to this list, what would it be? 

Desire.

5. What are some of your techniques for finding inspiration, and wading through the distractions, or excess? 

Overstimulation is inspiring for me but it needs to be followed by periods of isolation, usually in a long plane ride to Tokyo. New food, new people, art shows, performances, new music are all food I voraciously consume to stay culturally fluent in visual language. 

6. How do you keep the concept of time feeling, and looking, new?

By coming up with new ideas on how to communicate this. Is it how we age, how we act, how dense cities become? I will explore all these ideas in future products. 

7. You speak about intention - is there ever a conflict between designing something beautiful, and making it functional as well?

To test a design for intention, it must be stated. If the stated intent is to produce something beautiful – beautiful to who? If the stated intent is a function as well as an aesthetic value then one has a double, though not necessarily more difficult challenge. "intent" drives good design. 

8. Is your design process more about jotting down words, or working with shapes and figures? 

EVERYTHING! words have visual associations, have emotional reactions, evoke forms. I use language as a tool to direct and model a visual and form language. it makes the work stronger in the end, but back to the question, I don't edit anything out while brainstorming. 

9. How would you describe using Visual Magnetics materials to express your brainstorming? 

Visual Magnetics layers are great for brainstorming. Being able to create new writing space without having to erase makes the process faster/more real-time.

10. Which three products were your favorite to create? What are you looking forward to making next? 

the NOOKA strip [belt] really expresses my philosophy in the sense that innovation can come in many forms. everyone focuses on their phones for innovation now, and other things suffer. Imagine what the world would be like if people demanded a new more efficient motor every year for cars and planes like they do for the processors of their phones? The NOOKA strip shows a patented mechanical innovation that revolutionizes a simple and ancient product.

the NOOKA ZEN-H watch lines. this particular design works with no numbers and 4 year olds can read it faster than their parents on a first look!

NOOKA SCENT. My fragrance was an experiment that was not financially successful, but we did get 4 stars from Chandler Burr of the New York Times! 

I'm very excited to develop wearables and relaunch and expand our sunglasses and belts. I also have some amazing green business concepts to develop. We are actively looking for partners and investors to be a part of a major relaunch.