New York-based Matthew Waldman heads Nooka – an innovative design lab that employs universal language to enhance communication. The firm is known for their easy to use timepieces that fully integrate technology. Before entering the world of interactive design, Waldman worked as a graphic designer for New York Zoom, YAR Communication and Reuters Global Communications Studio. As a freelancer, the New York native lived in Japan. This experience still influences his work today. We spoke to Waldman about his philosophy, practice and involvement in this year’s Istanbul Design Week – 27 November to 1 December.

How do you define universal language? In what way do your designs reflect this philosophy? Matthew Waldman: Language is a tool we use to communicate new concepts. People tend to get emotional when writing or speaking about their ideas and are more comfortable expressing themselves with a global design language. All Nooka designs embody this ethos. Utilizing our interfaces, time is conveyed in a myriad of ways but doesn’t require the written linguistics of math.

What role does graphic-inspired industrial design play in finding solutions for the future? I never understood why there are boundaries between 2D, 3D and 4D motion design. Certainly, the rise of technology in the past 15 years has proven that product designers need to be proficient in all forms of visual representation. We can no longer draw a line between graphics and shape. With an expanded vocabulary, designers can now develop better solutions.

Speaking at Istanbul Design Week, what will you communicate? What do you hope to discover? Visiting Turkey for the first time, I am open to discover everything Istanbul has to offer – different people, food, culture and the local design community. At the crossroads of east and west, Istanbul is a metaphor for convergence and the perfect place to demonstrate design’s ability to unify.

Photos courtesy of Nooka