Matthew Waldman is a NYC based designer, inventor, educator and techno-progressivist. He is best known for NOOKA, a brand he launched in 2004, and their signature time pieces which promote universal language and an early example of passive intelligent design. He also consults companies and start-ups on branding, messaging and product development. Matthew has been a FoundersCard Member since 2011.
You started NOOKA in 2002 with the idea that ‘the future should not look like the past’. How have you been able to accomplish this?
Most men’s brands are always referencing a past style and are rooted in nostalgia. My design process is to let the design evolve from a conceptual or linguistic framework. because of this, even with emotion being part of the feature-set, creates designs which are provocative and satisfying like a well made sake or wine.
What makes a NOOKA watch different than the average timepiece?
They are not created with the intention of being just a timepiece – the intention is to be an accessory for a person who wants to express their optimism for the future.
What are some of the most influential things that drive the design and innovation behind NOOKA products?
Material science is something we are very interested in, and active in exploring – from recycled materials to a very early adoption of 3D printing technology. We also find inspiration in popular culture and the ever changing social media landscape.
Which NOOKA model are you wearing right now?
A gold NOOKA ZIRC, it’s elegant and goes with everything I wear!
How are classic watches competing with new wearable technologies?
Watches as a class have taken a hit since the Apple Watch came out, and digital is really a struggle if not a smart watch. This is forcing everyone to get a smart watch in the line-up as well as a focus on design, luxury and materials.
How did your experience as a creative director prime you to create the NOOKA brand?
I spent years working on value statements and corporate identity guidelines for other brands, so it was an immeasurably valuable experience. That experience taught me that it was a well crafted narrative that connects with the consumer and adds value, so I created NOOKA from the philosophy up.
NOOKA has been able to expand and curate other lifestyle products. How do you decide what brands and products to feature?
NOOKA has been around since 2004, and we have inspired many young designers and entrepreneurs. So it is from this pool of ‘family’ we can curate products that have an emotional and philosophical synergy with our brand – basically small independents who are challenging an established model or form to bring it into the future.
Apart from @NOOKA, who is someone we should be following on Twitter?
What exciting things can we look forward to from NOOKA in the coming year?
A smart watch, a revamped belt, and hopefully some audio products!