Publisher’s Note: Anyone that’s visited this blog knows that I try to mention Nooka as much as possible without over killing it. They’ll also note that there’s an ad from Nooka on the right rail—they’ve been a great supporter of this blog. I’ve also worked with them on the redesign of their website that I mentioned in this post. With all that said this post like everything else I mention form Nooka is from the point of view of a fan and not as someone that just got paid with a briefcase of cash.
When I first saw a prototype of the Zayu it was an instant favorite. It had similar face to a couple of the other Nooka’s that I owned but had evolved it enough to be something new. The worst thing a designer can do is show another designer something really cool, and than mention that the cool thing won’t be available for months. So for the last six weeks I’ve been emailing weekly to find out when the Zayu would be finally out. It came in this week so here’s the pics I took above and below is an interview that I had with Matthew of Nooka while he was still in Japan for Tokyo Design Week.
MICHAEL SURTEES: Can you talk about how the Zub Zayu came to be. To me it looks like an evolution of the Zot, Zen and outer shape of the Zirc together.
MATTHEW WALDMAN: The zirc is my favorite design we’ve released in terms of form. It sits on the wrist almost weightless as the weight is transferred to the wrist bone when worn correctly. It also allows the watch face to be worn over a sleeve. Unfortunately we as a brand need to get better at telling these kinds of stories as well, and I think this was lost when we launched the zirc. Wanting to tell this story to a broader audience (i.e. More democratic price point) was my main motivation that led to the design of the zayu. To be honest, as a designer, I am never 100% satisfied with my own work and combing the appeal of the zubs with the things I like with our higher end models is definitely an evolution.
MS: One of the other features mentioned in the press release is a new battery power saving mode. I remember you mentioning during Design Week talk with Joey Roth that batteries are what’s constraining the features that a watch can do. Has the new battery technology influenced the design of the Zayu?
MW: Unfortunately it’s the old technology that forces us to innovate in this way. Necessity is the mother of invention right?
MS: A couple practical words that I’m picking up a lot in the press release and from other blogs is time capsule, ambidextrous, and asymmetrical. That’s a bit of a shift from the futuristic philosophy that I’m used to hearing. Has Nooka’s philosophy shifted much from the last year?
MW: Who says the future is not practical? It’s all rooted in futurism. The Zayu is a universal communicator of both time and cool—what can be more Nooka?
MS: Speaking of the future, are there any materials that you’d like to use yet haven’t been able to because of cost or are hard to manufacture?
MW: Tons! low power ELs, kenetic electric batteries, flat integrated LCD and OELD, self-cleaning surface coatings, bio plastics… The problem is that being a small company, we can never afford the license fees and minimum order quantities. I’ve reached out to the 3Ms and Duponts of the world, go to the industrial trade shows and we are active with the material connexion here in NYC, so making the effort is not the issue. Perhaps some high level people reading your blog will see this and reach out to do some cool collabs?
MS: One of the strongest brand attributes that Nooka has in my opinion is how fans share what they love about the company on Twitter and Facebook and how you and others at Nooka seem to respond to almost everyone online. How do you all keep up ?
MW: Convergence! I have Twitter and facebook on my iPhone so there’s no excuse not to check in. When I’m traveling I ping people in the Nooka lab to pick up the slack. Of course, it’s a bit of an addiction as I love attention, however virtual it may be.
MS: This time next year what can fans of Nooka expect to see that’s being thought about right now?
MW: I hope apparel, new strips (belts), new sunglasses, more watches and expanded fragrance offerings.
MS: Any plans for any more pop up shops in NYC or are you focused more selling online at Nooka.com?
MW: BOTH! Thanks to you and Yumi Asai, nooka.com looks HOT and i’d love to see more purchases there. We are planning more pop-ups as well as they are doing well in Japan for us. I’ll keep you posted.
MS: What’s the most misunderstood thing about Nooka?
MW: That our product is a really the philosophy of universal communication and not the physical objects themselves. Also, people think we are a larger company than the 8 people start-up we are which actually can get in the way of some things. Of course, it’s not a bad problem to have I’m always told.