Thursday, November 29, 2007

tanaka+nooka collab update

i have to admit that i was sad when we didn't get a huge response to our online collab project with the amazing shin tanaka, but i do want to share the best entry so far -- sent all the way from italia!
thank you michele of artevettoriale!

everyone else...u still have time: or the link above.

Monday, November 26, 2007

miami heist [now with party!]

i will be in a group art show concurrent with the basel art fair in miami december 5th - 9th -- miami heist. please come if you can as i will show a refreshed and edited selection from my fairy labor union memorials exhibition.

PARTY!!! Thursday December 6th, from 7-10 pm
Charcoal Studios
2135 NW 1st Ave.
Miami, FL
Wynwood District (next to Pulse Art Fair)

Friday, November 23, 2007

the zirc on mocoloco

i'm sure everyone who reads my blog is a frequent visitor to, but if not, you should check them out. they have nooka info before i get to update my own blog! from the quotes, i can see that this was written by someone at my sydney australia presentation 2 weeks ago THANKS! they are writing mainly on our upcoming zirc model which i think will be a hit. it's 45 x 35 mm with a flush right wrist band. the new display is more evocative of a analog watch, so i hope it will pique the interest of people who think nooka is too much for them.

these will be available spring 2008 from and fine retailers everywhere.

Monday, November 19, 2007


I spent the weekend with my friend pat in devonport which was great. her 2 kids are as adorable as ever and i was in time for harrison's 4th birthday party. it was a rock and roll theme party, so i was drafted to be a member of kiss with joe [my star is on the wrong side for my paul stanley]. the neighborhood kids were all great - aside from pat and Joe's kids (and tim finn’s* daughter elliot) - davenport is a bit like “children of the corn” though. the cultural diversity of auckland hasn’t permeated this hood yet:)
on monday, i caught up with robert and imelda at the hotel duxton to meet with our new distributor for new zealand. his name is kennedy and he took the day off to show us around - which was wonderful. we climbed rocks, hills, volcanoes and visited beautiful surfing beaches like piha. it was exhausting but we didn’t feel bad about being too tired to go out as it was a monday night and not much was going on in auckland.

for nooka, we are only in one shop in auckland, but are in 1 shop in christchurch and 2 shops in wellington. i haven’t been to those 2 cities, but what i hear, they are more urban than auckland though auckland is the largest and most populous city. my impression from my 2 trips here is that auckland is quite hippy and may not be the best market for my products. kennedy is on-it, so i'm sure we'll be in more shops by the end of the year. he's done a lot for just a month.

kennedy set up a meet-and-greet night for us at a cafe/dj cd vinyl/t-shirt shop on ponsaby street for press and buyers. like the event in sydney, very few people showed up which is disappointing after coming so long a ways, but reality check: i am not tom dixon or philip starck.

auckland does seem to be caught in a time-warp...more 1950’s themed things than i remember seeing in other cities. there was one cool shop near the main train station called eon [check] that would be perfect for nooka, but they only feature new zealand based designers.

some things to see if you are in auckland: the museum in the domain has a great collection of maori artifacts and buildings as well as a nice compact natural history collection with great interactive areas for kids [and adults like me]. the national park around the auckland watershed is amazing in the diversity of plant life and the beaches are beautiful [you will need a car]. in the city i had the best indian EVER at a restaurant called tagore in cnr quay [ph: 349 9463]. for great beer/wine/snacks/food, mac’s brewbar on 23-27 nuffield street is a cool environment. order a table platter which includes 3 glasses of wine or 4 beers for around $52nz and you’ll have more than enough to eat for 3 people. also check out the britomart train station, the only central station in the world with no people [everyone drives]!

so now onto the bitching and moaning section for both sydney and new zealand [hopefully someone in those governments AND hotel industry will be searching blogs and read this): modernize your internet infrastructure! australia and new zealand have to be the 2 most difficult [developed] countries to get online reliably and affordably. i had free internet in my hotel in sydney which only worked one day, and the internet at the hotel in auckland was $14.95 for what they called 24 hours but shut down after you reached 25 megabytes of data transfer [up+down]. it was really ridiculous and hardly the service a business traveler has come to expect, especially after japan and hong kong where most hotels offer high-speed at no charge. i think the city governments need to launch free wifi areas in the parks or major pedestrian areas to force the telecoms to bring the prices more in line and moreover, to get the populous connected to the rest of the world.

also, i did realize that if i were to move to auckland, i would need to cover my body in tattoos - robert and i were the only men without any tatts.

mustache update: i’m growing one stellar mustache...i had no idea how big my upper lip is!

* tim finn was a founding member of an early 80s new zealand band called split endz. i was really into them at one point.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


i'm back in sydney for the 2nd time in 18 months – what a great city. the weather is perfect, the food is great, and the people are wonderful. the first day i was completely out of it as i couldn't sleep well on the flight [once you get used to flat beds on ANA or BA, nothing else makes the grade unfortunately]. day 2 [tuesday] was spent in the de de ce gallery on liverpool street to set up the space for the press presentation. john expected 30-50 people of which only 10 showed, but it was nice to actually talk to everyone who was there. hopefully we'll get some great press mentions and start moving greater numbers in australia.

i gave a good presentation, similar to the ones i did at pecha-kucha in tokyo and new york last year but in doing so, i realized the direction i need to rework it. right now the slide show and talk is more of a time line of my projects. i made a note to myself to re-do when i get back to nyc to support a "motivation", "inspiration", "influences", "nooka now" and then "nooka tomorrow" format. or...hire a proper video artist to make a presentation to press and play:)

today, wednesday, i had lunch with john of de de ce [he has been the most amazing host...had a great dinner with his wife amanda and robert tuesday night as well] and then went to visit the design shop at the sydney opera house and the shop at the sydney museum. saw the collection of the sydney museum and a free tour of the opera house [thanks guys!]. i walked back through the domain and half of hyde park all the way to darlinghurst.

photos: a snap of the crowd at my presentation, the fairy sculpture i made for the gallery [john has a collection of art/artifacts from everyone who he works with and have made the trek to oz]. parking and signage at the world heritage site sydney opera house.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Hong Kong

my last trip to Hong Kong was miserable because I had bronchitis from too many smoke filled nights in tokyo. This trip, I made a point NOT to go to superdeluxe in tokyo because of the smoke but if you are ever in tokyo, i highly recommend a visit as i heard that smoking in bars will soon be banned! anyway, i can write about superdeluxe in another post....on to hong kong!

hong kong is really a wonderful place – truly a city for the future. arriving at their airport is enough to fill a new yorker with anger at the poor job the port authority is doing with nyc's 3 airports. i am truly embarrassed knowing that a visitor landing for the first time is presented with such a nightmare [i LOVE NYC, just wish the airports were updated to match the century we live in]. even tokyo, with all it's high speed rail links to narita is pathetic compared to the ease of boarding the train to the city from hong kong's international airport – no stairs, elevators, escalators AT ALL – get your luggage, get a ticket, walk 20 yards or so, and you board a train that takes you to kowloon or hong kong central in 24 minutes or less! truly, an airport designed by real travelers who have struggled with suitcases in Tokyo and NYC. unfortunately, most elected officials go from limo to private jet to limo....really now....onto hong kong.

i checked into the lovely JIA hotel in causeway bay and caught up on emails and calls to NYC. I was then too exhausted to do anything. The next day, I took care of bank errands and walked around to do my market research. We don't do well in HK in terms of sales but do get a lot of press attention. I understand that HK is a city for BIG established brands and is difficult with Nooka being just 3 years old. No problem, I'm patient.

in the evening, Allan, my friend and distributor for HK came by the hotel and took me to see some stores. We met the owner of a toy shop that stocks nooka and then went for a french meal at a cute place he also owned called LE MARRON. If you want a secret place to impress your friends – this is the place. the tables are divided into private areas with lace curtains and they have some private rooms. they also have a terrace for smoking [HK recently banned smoking in restaurants and bars! yeah!]. check out their site here.

the next day was crazy busy: robert and imelda arrive at 9:00 am and come to my room as theirs is not ready yet. robert, eddie and i then had an 11:00 meeting to meet a silicone goods manufacturer for potential new products [went well]. we then reconvened with allan for a delicious dim sum lunch at a place near the jia as allan and i had a 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm appointments with press [went well]. in between i we met with Raffy, our agent in the philipines. i had a 5:30 pm meeting with michael young, and then off to dinner in kowloon city to a seafod restaurant eddie wanted to take us to...cocktails with friends and finally bed AFTER checking emails and interfacing digitally with my staff in NYC!

design notes: even though taxis are inexpensive in HK, make a point to take the metro [subway]. each station is designed to a different color featured in custom bisazza glass tiles on the walls with either matching, complimenting or coordinated color flooring tiles [not bisazza]. it's unfortunate that they cover most of the stations with floor to ceiling ad wraps as 1. it covers up the beauty of the stations and 2. though HK is a great place to marvel at urban planning, it is not a great place for graphic design.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

it isn't over til the gaijin sings

i spent the last day this trip to tokyo in the office to catch up on emails from all the business cards i collected during the shows. I think I did a good job of identifying key people to send emails to from 300+ cards before i forget who they are! at 8:00 we went to a local izakaya which looked very non-descript at best [i would never have thought to eat there on my own] but was a delicious kyu-shu specialty restaurant! we had ba-sashi which i was hunkering for the whole trip and dishes like mentai-tsume sanma yaki [spicy cod-roe stuffed grilled mackerel] and in place of edamame, steamed sora-mame [broad beans] which were great. (i tried to buy broad beans in the US but the frozen ones are all from china and were quite bitter – any suggestions?) i got drunk on a nice bottle of imo-jochu and then off to karaoke!

it was a rainy monday night and one would expect the karaoke-kan to be more willing to negotiate price, but we managed to get a ¥2500 [+tax] per person for 2 hours all you can drink. when i think about it, it was cheaper and nicer than the karaoke box places i've been to in nyc. needless to say, it was a fun night. artist taku anekawa joined us and is fun to watch sing as was mr. yamada's japanese rap!. here is a link to his site. we were out til 3:00 am.

i didn't get to hang out with my dear friend soichi terada as he was too busy with a new game soundtrack he's working on. here is a link to his site. because of this, he offered to drive me to narita for my flight to HK and we would catch up on an early lunch and the drive. the drive was great...first time i made it to narita in an hour by car or train.

and now, i am in HK! i will write a separate blog for HK. fotos for the above in a bit.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

MoMA Store Omotesando

on the evening of november 1st, i went to the opening of the MoMA store in Japan. They are in a brand new luxury shopping environment on Omotesando called GYRE which has galleries and restaurants as well. the MoMA shop has been an important supporter of my work from the beginning so it was great to see the NYC and Tokyo staff at the same event. The Tokyo store features quite a few models of my line.

the party was great, i got to meet the architect of the store space, Richard Gluckman of Gluckman Mayner Architects [of NYC] and people from other brands in the shop.

photos include Chay and her hubby Rob, a picture of me with Cathy and Mr. Suda, a buyer for the Tokyo store.

check out the store in person or online.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

november 2nd

yesterday was another busy day in tokyo for me. travel + jetlag + standing for hours in cool-looking-but-painful shoes at the fair left me feeling like a pretzel – off to find a place for a massage! unfortunately, all the places on shokuan-dori in tokyo's little korea looked a bit sketchy, so i boarded the JR to shibuya where i know a few places. the tui-na place i normally go to doesn't open til 2:00 pm so i ended up in a shiatsu clinic place for a massage. it was at times both painful and relaxing but my day long headache was gone! i also had lunch at the raj mahal with gordon who does web design for amway japan and nissan [i hired gordon as a graphic designer when i was an art director for a small design studio in tokyo in 1988 and he's still here].

i then went to 100% to meet with michael young and his team and catch up on what he's showing and as usual, everything is amazing. his designer, ben walked the show with me and showed me his side projects. lots of great stuff in the main tents but the student work this year was really horrible – not one notable project that stood out [or am i burnt-out from seeing to many exhibitions this year?]. i also ran into ken o'rourke (the bicycle king of taichung) which was nice. he worked on the bikes michael young designed [see foto].

at tide i met the designers of a ridiculously expensive but wonderful line of kimonos called HIROCOLEDGE which debuts in the newly renovated Dairmaru across from Tokyo Station. Hiroko was as beautiful as her creations.

after tide we went to a party for a japanese laquerware maker called wajima where i met the chief technology office for a brand i LOVE calle amadana as well as catching up with designers from the shows. we then went to a party thrown by iDEA, a shop that does very well with nooka. i also met Chiaki Murata, an industrial designer whos work I also admire. It's really great to have the opportunity to meet so many people I admire in one city and on the same trip.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

nooka booth

here are finally some better pictures of our booth and the nooka kaiten-sushi market. unfortunately, our booth is in a dark corner of the show and people do not seem to figure out that you need to walk through the doorway to see the items on exhibit. i wanted a booth design that reflected the stated theme of the show "PLAY" without straying from the nooka concept – it seems i was the only one trying to do so – which has been a painful exercise in how i over-think everything!'s all experience to apply to next years show and to shows in NYC.