In the mid-’90s, Matthew Waldman had one of those jobs that sitcoms often devote 22 minutes to making fun of. “My background is in corporate identity development,” he recounts over lunch at his studio one day. “I used to do those big fact-finding whiteboard meetings in conference rooms — you’re at a cocktail party, let’s make believe, let’s do some role playing, now tell me what you do. Or, imagine your product, and give me the first three adjectives that come to mind.” He thinks for a minute. “It was actually really successful. I should probably write a book.” Or, we suggest, you should found a watch-design company, wear your influences on your sleeve, and thus remain instantly-recognizable in a saturated market despite expanding into wallets, belts, a fragrance, and a certain forthcoming fashion accessory that’s top secret for now.
Even though Waldman’s known for pioneering his very own way of telling time (bars and dots instead of numbers and hands), thanks to his old gig, what you see very clearly when you flip through a Nooka catalog is a former club kid who’s into new technology and materials, futurism, vinyl toys, and Japanese art; someone who knows his own company’s first three adjectives by heart (“sleek, sexy, optimistic,” he shoots back via email less than a minute after we ask). Which is why we figured it was worth peeking into the company’s New York offices to see how that translates into the objects and ephemera he and his team keep around for inspiration. Here’s a sampling of what we found.
Francesca Gavin is a London-based writer, editor, and blogger, and, like you and me, she’s a major voyeur. For her book Creative Space: Urban Homes of Artists and Innovators, she traveled the world, slipping inside the studios, apartments, and houses of designers, artists, photographers, stylists, curators, writers, and filmmakers to document the chaotic interiors she found there.
The world has its share of design couples — husbands and wives who work together in the studio day in and day out with seemingly infrequent urges to kill one another. But Xavier Mañosa, the 28-year-old Spanish ceramicist who goes by the name Apparatu, may be the only designer we know who works every day alongside his parents.
Between the two of them, Julie Ho and Nicholas Andersen had designed clothing, jewelry, movie sets, music videos, and Martha Stewart shoots, plus dabbled in painting, drawing, pattern-making, sewing, and crocheting before teaming up creatively in 2008. Ho had even been a studio assistant for Tom Sachs, making foam Hello Kittys with a medical scalpel (and slicing open her hands almost weekly in the process). So it took a particular kind of alchemy for the pair to decide that — out of all their talents and interests — they would devote their days to making paper party decorations, the kind you'd expect to find in a dollar store.