Friday, April 30, 2010

vans pro team in guam

on april 29th, the vans skate and bmx team went down to tumon bay guam to sign autographs and put on a "jam session" demo in front of dna evolution and kicks/hi guam. dna of evolution and kicks/hi guam invited the public, especially skaters and action sports enthusiasts to come down and witness the occasion. the long live crew also released their long awaited skate deck/ tee pack and a preview of the long live skate video at the gathering. from the looks of it, this was an epic event!

our sales rep gifted kristy van doren, colin mackay and some other from vans pro team some watches. be sure to check out the great photos!

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

matthew waldman in yrb

matthew waldman and the nooka brand were featured in design @ work, an article focusing on 7 different brands with 7 unique aesthetics in the latest yrb magazine. be sure to check out the great photo courtesy of esteban aladro!

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

hong kong update and a small rant or two

i used to go to hong kong once or twice a year when i started nooka, but due to frustrations with dealing with the first factory we contracted, i began to send other staff members to do the factory visits. though things have improved on all fronts, and communication being the main ongoing issue, it is yet again necessary for me to shepherd the process directly. so after an absence of 2 years, i went to hong kong. so even though it is late april, and i packed not much of warm clothes, i was shocked with cool weather [snow in tokyo, freezing smog in beijing, but cold in hong kong?!?]. this actually worked to my advantage as i don't do well in hot sweaty weather – my hong kong productivity doubled!

since it was a short trip, i planned all the meetings to be in the HK offices of the factories we use. without going into minutia, the outcome i have been feeling mount, is that a company like nooka needs to have it's design office in hong kong or at least closer than a 14 hour plane ride. the iceland volcano put a stop to fedex up until a few days before my meetings, so my timing couldn't have been better. moreover, being able to discuss design changes face to face is by far the most efficient way to produce things. i really need to think this through: can i live in HK 6 months of the year? is tokyo close enough to base the design lab there? i was impressed with the energy and people of beijing, but the pollution there would kill me. how do other small independent design brands handle these issues? remember, i sort of fell into product design! still figuring this stuff out...

<volcano: if my anti-gravity drive transport was developed we wouldn't see the huge disruptions caused by this event. am i the only one consistently ranting about the lack of technological progress in air travel? this is the same technology in use since the 1960s...just sayin...>

i got to meet the great people at victionary publishing, the incredible chris ng of idn magazine, and arnault, proprietor of kapok, your place for nooka products in hong kong! his combination cafe, shoppe and gallery on a cute hidden street in wanchai is a great place for a coffee and nooka any day of the week. check it out; G/F 5 saint francis yard, wanchai.

aside from work, caught up with mark landwehr of coarse toys – had a IKEA swedish meatballs at his apt with some of his friends and coworkers. my friends andrew and marco actually live 3 floors below him in the same building, so i invited them to meet their neighbors. a friend from when i was a young adult in tokyo has been living on lamma island for 14 years, and we had a lovely seafood meal there, my first time on lamma island. for one of the last surviving international design magazines, produced out of hong kong. for victionary design publishing, also out of hong kong. support independent design, buy their products as well as mine.

business travel notes:
do not get brainwashed like i did and get an american express platinum card. you do not receive any better service from the airlines than if you were to book all your flights on kayak, nor does it get you access into any of the airport lounges in tokyo narita or beijing international. they booked me on air china for 2 legs of my flight, and this is an airline to avoid – unresponsive counter people who just stare at you when they don't want to answer a question and the interior of their planes are old and quite smelly. luckily i always have a muji moisture mist and travel sizes of nooka fragrance to keep me from not breathing. i have to say, american express marketing is certainly successful enough to get me to pay the $750 annual fee which will be contested when i cancel this card on my return to NYC.

put hungary on your list of countries where google sites do not work. they are not blocked but i can't get gmail or blogger to work at all – times out. search is fine but painfully slow. so if you are like me and do cloud computing, make sure you have back ups to download from other servers and POP/IMAP set up on your laptop for your email. i am writing this [and updating the blog via email, not the website] in sunny budapest where we are having a nooka dj event with larry tee this friday! i haven't seen larry since he moved to london so this will be a cool environment to catch up. let me know if you're in buda or pest this week. also, if you are lactose intolerant or have a milk allergy, bring a huge supply of lactase or soy milk with you.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

nooka x ddg

text by michael a. traverzo

nooka and luxury jewlery designer, deviant design group, have combined their collective views of unconventional design to create custom high value nooka watches for an exclusive clientele. check out the "blinged" out nooka zot classic that features a 14k gold face plate inscribed with the nooka and ddg logo as well as an exterior watch case adorned with over 4 carats of si1 f-g colored diamonds. similar upgrades and customizations will now be available starting at $2,500.

ddg offers a variety of customization options ranging from precious stones and diamonds, gold plating, inscription, unique straps and special requests to add your personal "swag" to a nooka.

email for more information or a price quote.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

matthew waldman x graniph t shirt

graniph recently teamed up with matthew waldman for a special limited edition collaboration t shirt. this exclusive to graniph shirt features the nooka creatures of the night patter in a star shaped design. be sure to visit here to a get a closer look at the design.

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nooka night in budapest

for those of you lucky enough to be in budapest, you will have the esteemed pleasure of being able to stop by merlin and join the 'andy warhol of dance music', electro dj larry tee, while he hosts nooka night. get the chance to chat with the man behind nooka, matthew waldman while there. this event is april 30th, so be sure to mark it in your calendars!

for information: +36 1 317 93 38/107

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

nooka x vans warped tour

nooka will sponsor the 16th annual vans warped tour and to commemorate the event, nooka has customized 100 zub zenv 20 watches for their vip's. the limited edition timepiece will feature purple graphics on a green band.

the 2010 incarnation of the vans warped tour – affectionately known as ‘punk rock summer camp’ will host a distinct and diverse lineup of the hottest artists on the scene, as well as a full concourse of lifestyle attractions and vendors. now in it’s 16th year, the 43-date tour commences on june 25th in carson, ca and finishes on august 15th in hillsboro, or. north america’s longest-running touring festival has promised to be the most memorable jaunt yet for the annual punk rock extravaganza.

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day of art: beijing

today i took time to go visit the great wall of china, and don't let me be the first to tell you - it is one great big ole wall snaking along the mountain ridges outside of beijing. what was more exciting for me was my afternoon at beijing's 798 district, an artist colony with galleries, museums, cafes and shops.

i didn't see everything, but was very excited about a lot of what i did. notable and a must visit is the well curated UCCA [Ullens Center for Contemporary Art] which had quite a few good installations, a gorgeous cafe and shop as well [perfect future home for nooka i feel]. REM(A)INDERS at galleria continua was an amazing distillation of the detritus one finds in china - really made me smile the moment i walked in the voluminous space as i got the concept right away when i saw a full sized tree covered in colorful plastic bags. gallerista alessandra p. was a pleasure to talk to. there was a group show of young chinese talent at the beyond art space, managed by gallerista mila b. was good, but i was truly blown away by the work of art trio, UNMASK! their hyper-realistic sculptures of genetically engineered men touched so many of my reference points past and present that i almost bought one if not for the price tag. if you are in beijing this week, their is an opening of their solo show tomorrow which i am very sorry to miss [off to hong kong tomorrow]. i tried to find a link for their solo show as it's in a different gallery in 798, but nothing came up...

i included some fotos in the collage from my visit to the olympic village. the acid rain in beijing has already taken a toll on those new structures.

here are some links:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

greetings from smoggy beijing

ok, the news real, it is IMPOSSIBLE to get on twitter and facebook from mainland china. google services are up, but spotty [and i won't even mention porn sites] – so needless to say – i have a bit of internet withdrawal! if i was a bit more of an IT sophisticate i might be able to get the proxy i set up to work, but alas, no luck. moreover, i'm not here long enough for it to make sense to pay for the ubiquitous pay proxy services people who live here without VPN use. i'm uploading this post via email. i'm sure there's a way for that with twitter but even the help pages and wiki articles for that are blocked here!

so to state what most people may or may not already know: beijing is referred to as BJ [like New York City is NYC]. this makes me smile. the air really is polluted, a thick photochemical smog that has given me a constant headache, and i've only been here a few days! then again, my lungs are my weakest link, luckily my stomach is 90% cast iron. the city is HUGE, you need to take a taxi to and from most metro stations meaning most people take taxis everywhere. all that aside, the energy of this growing metropolis is palatable and exciting.

is BJ ready for nooka? the better question is, is nooka ready for mainland china? of course, i've toured the shopping areas and especially areas with the independent brands, though i would hardly consider this trip more than just scratching the service. my hope is that in the course of meeting people on these travels the perfect distributor or retail partner will magically appear – it has happened more than once. for now, we are very happy to be in lane crawford locations [chinese fans, please order your nooka product there for now].

so for now, i will continue to enjoy the city and my friends who live here. china continues to be a fascinating and exciting country and i look forward to exploring more of its possibilities.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

coldest april in tokyo

strangely, it's been extremely cold this whole week in tokyo, but now that i think of the volcano in iceland, it may make some sense – it was actually snowing friday night when team nooka was out drinking at en izakaya late into the night [thanks reika for reserving us a room!]. of course, now that i need to repack and check out on my way to beijing, it's super sunny and nice outside.

so to wrap up the updates for this trip, and not in chronological order, a word-dump: had a great meeting with the creative collaboration team at graniph, the t-shirt i designed will drop may 1st. if you're in a city with a graniph shop, make sure to pick one up as they only made 1000 units. my friend tomoyo hooked that connection up and it was nice to catch up with her after the meeting. tinydinosaur, a tokyo fashion design lab, famous for using new fabrics and materials featured nooka in their latest tokyo fashion week fall collection. see photos here. mr. kudo can be seen in the foto on the upper right with his handmade lamps made from discarded umbrella wires – a really creative team and i am so flattered to work with them. they LOVE the nooka strips [get yours here or in japan, here]! visited a wonderful little shop near bankart museum in yokohama called gallo the living which features nooka prominently in their shop. the shop manager, hikaru is adorable, and the owner mr. hara is full of creative energy. we all had a lovely meal after visiting the shop at the amazon club which serves deep fried scorpions and other fusion fare. went out to a night of 5 bands at unit in daikanyama to see my friend immi perform some songs and a dj set [you can tell which foto is her i think], which was great. saw another band called soutaiseiriron which was also fun, the singer was übercool, she hardly moved. i made it to nigo of bathing ape fame's new curry restaurant called curry-up. it was excellent! and i wore my yellow jeans which kinda made it look like i work there. the pretty lady with the long hair is my friend and rising design star, hiroko takahashi – great to catch up with her and see some of the amazing press she is getting. we also compared travel stories.

i will not clog up the post with every business meeting and friend i caught up with, nor complain about how i haven't had a proper night sleep in 10 days, but seriously, check the links above to catch up on the ever changing pop-culture of tokyo – a great and inspiring city. the foto of the ocean is from a daytrip to atami where i soaked in a hot tub [rotenburo] at horai, a 160 year old mountain guesthouse that was sublime though....the kami-san, mrs. furutani was a pleasure and the food is beyond words.

Monday, April 12, 2010

nooka x iceland design week

text by michael a. traverzo nooka recently teamed up with the designmarch, donating 25 zub skyblue zenh 20 for their vips. the designmarch is a four day event in its 2nd year organized by the iceland design center that takes place from the march 18- 21st. designmarch aims to spread design through iceland, exhibiting unique designs, works in progress as well as old favorites. check out the cool images that iceland design provided us with!

learn more about the designmarch here!

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tokyo this week

lobby of the MoT

art of kiyoshi KURODA

cut paper work of tomoko SHIYOYASU – mind-bogglingly awesome!


the creepy work of junichi MORI

team nooka japan: yu YAMADA, myself and yuka SATO.

i am now on the first leg of a month-long business trip. i arrived in tokyo on friday so i would have the weekend to adjust to the jet-lag, but somehow, i'm exhausted today [waking up at 5am is probably the culprit!]. luckily i had 100% energy for my meeting with the PR agency we use here in Japan – got them up to speed on all the collab and event stuff in the US to find synergies and/or similar win-win scenarios relevant to the japan market. in particular, the more i talk about what's going on with the custom nookanooka shows around the world, the more i think we need to package it for a museum show somewhere [after budapest, we will have 50 nookanookas customized by local and international artists!]. curator friends: any ideas? connections with the cooper hewitt in nyc or the design museum in london [or any other ideas welcome]. i'll work the connections i have...

and on the same vein, i was happy to see an artist from the japan custom nookanooka show, atsuo OGAWA, featured in the annual show of new artists at the tokyo museum of contemporary art [known as the MoT, go figure]. the show was pretty amazing, i was blown away by some of the pieces, especially the ceramic work of katsuyo AOKI – glad i caught the show on the last day. you can learn more about the exhibition
here. unfortunately, the catalog was sold out, so i had to snap some pictures of the library copy!

there was also a wonderful hussein chalayan retrospective which i also found inspiring. and to make it even more wonderful...they sell nooka in the MoT gift shop!

the newly renovated museum restaurant, content, is quite good – beautiful space, excellent service, but extremely overpriced for being in a municipally funded art museum.

Friday, April 2, 2010

nooka sighting: buddy carr

text by michael a. traverzo

buddy carr, professional skate boarder and nooka's good friend sent over some pictures of his run. check out the sick nooka stickers on his board and if you look closely, on his helmet as well. be sure to stop by his site here and pick up some of his cool gear!

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