Monthly Archives: October 2016

What we did

Experience Essence™


Industrial Design


The DVDO Edge teaches us that good design is literally about thinking outside the box. In fact, in a world full of plain boxes, this is something altogether different; this is a ‘nonbox’.

The DVDO Edge is made for the discerning home theatre owner—the people for whom high quality viewing is an obsession.

DVDO Edge HD video processor

A ‘nonbox’

Most home-theater electronics are called set-top boxes for a reason – they are just boxes. In the early days it was the cheapest way, to simply put electronics inside a housing. Manufacturers would create a metal box, put on a plastic bezel and that was it. There were, of course, variations on how the bezel was designed — the placement of the logo, the design of the vent patterns, and the design and placement of the buttons. And that used to be enough, it was ‘just a home theatre component’ after all.

When DVDO asked NONOBJECT to create something outstanding, the box was the first thing that was questioned. The idea of a set-top box that wasn’t even a box took hold. A timeless product that would have more in common with an iconic piece of furniture rather than a home theater device.

All edge

After taking the concept to its simplest form, components and internals were added without ever compromising the aesthetic. The design did away with buttons on the front, and the internal workings of the box were returned, but hidden in the shadows behind a clever diagonal cut-in. The crucial ‘box’ component virtually disappeared, leaving just the elegantly streamlined silhouette.

DVDO Edge HD video processor design detail with green lightDVDO Edge HD video processor design detail

Less is more, is less

Demonstrating the strong design-for-engineering capabilities of NONOBJECT, the DVDO shows that out-of-the box thinking when it comes to design doesn’t have to be more costly. The DVDO Edge came in on budget with a bill of materials that was less than the estimate, demonstrating the value of genuinely thoughtful design in real terms.

DVDO Edge HD video processor on black background

What we did

Experience Essence™


Industrial Design

The gamer’s world is often one of flashing lights and a certain gaming inspired aesthetic. Logitech set NONOBJECT the challenge to create a set of speakers for consumers who are serious about gaming, and want a design that’s equally at home in the gaming world as the world beyond.

Inspiration for the Z553 speakers was found in a common element of many computer games, appropriating the form of a double-barrel shotgun, and paring it back to its fundamental form, to create a set of elegant-yet-edgy speakers.

Logitech Z553 gaming speakers

Incredibly versatile, the speakers work both in a desktop configuration, and in wall-hung positions, fitting the different lifestyles of their users. The speakers also tilt to direct the sound. The design also borrows from high-end audio by using tripod stands with conical feet, which reduces vibration and transfers the sound as a pure reproduction.

Logitech Z553 gaming speaker red back Logitech Z553 gaming speaker legs

The cylindrical form of the subwoofer is considered to be the most efficient and the most powerful, the best possible architecture. The Z553 subwoofer is a compact version of larger systems, but utilizes the same acoustic envelope to create even more powerful output.

Working closely with the company’s engineering team, NONOBJECT was able to develop an authentic design and a unique offering on an accelerated schedule at a price point that fit perfectly with the target market.

Logitech Z553 gaming speaker mash pattern Logitech Z553 gaming speaker subwoofer rear panel Logitech Z553 gaming speaker subwoofer volume dial Logitech Z553 gaming speaker red cable

By Ben Morgan

Touch interfaces are everywhere, informing every part of our day. No matter if we’re scrolling through our Instagram feed, looking up the fastest way to get somewhere, or dialing a loved one, our fingertips are tapping against the cool neutralness of a glass screen.

Doing away with a solid glass front, Tarati requires the user to literally pass their fingers through the phone to dial and ultimately connect with the person on the other side of the call.

For Branko, the sense of touch should not be taken for granted. Tarati —Sanskrit for “he who passes through”— reinstates its significance, ensuring we are no longer pressing our fingers up against a solid surface; instead we pass through the phone to touch only the air, or our own hand. “So when you’re looking at Tarati, it isn’t a physical, clickable piece of glass that you need to interact with,” Branko says. “It’s really transcending the material, into an intangible interaction.”

Challenging the way we think

With its slim design and chamfered edges, the unexpected form would sit comfortably alongside today’s smartphones. However, Tarati—presented as part of the wide-ranging experiments of the nonobject book—was never an exercise in aesthetics, or practical functionality; it was about challenging the way designers and design leaders think about the world. “It’s not based on some business plan, or business logic,” Branko explains.  When you pick up the phone and call a loved one, someone who is dear to you, there is an emotional moment of connection between two people. It is direct, it is powerful, and it is magical. “To me it was important to explore how we can amplify and bring through to you the magic of that simple experience called ‘a phone call’.”

Tarati phone touchless keyboard with finger

Beyond technology to meaningful connections

In the 10 years since Tarati was released to the world, communication technology has surpassed expectations; we now have virtual reality, voice assistants, internet access, and video calling right in our pockets, everywhere we go. However, for Branko, experiments such as Tarati are more important today than ever. As technologies leap forward, there are tools at the disposal of designers that make almost anything possible. What sets great designers apart is their ability to design not just the physical object, but also the space between the product and the person, to facilitate meaningful experiences and develop emotional connections.

Tarati phone yellow prototypeTarati phone touchless keys detail

an invitation to rethink our approach to design, to find ways to connect emotionally with products

“The learnings from these experiments don’t have an expiration date,” Branko says. “We’re not looking to them for aesthetics, we’re not looking to them for an immediate solutions. They are resources of possibility.” Branko wants design thinkers to be deep thinkers, and to use their minds and resources to create truly meaningful products and environments. As a standalone experiment, the thinking behind Tarati could be applied to anything from switching on a light or opening a door, to the very architecture of buildings and ways we interact with the physical world. It is an exercise to help designers, businesses, and everyone who is interested in innovation, to more bravely approach how they solve problems. In this way, Tarati is not a phone concept, but an invitation to rethink our approach to design, to find ways to connect emotionally with products.

Basically these experiments are generators, like little design bots, resources for inspiration, inviting us to think much more creatively and deeply about things we design for ourselves, in order to create a greater meaning.

Tarati phone city


iF Packaging Design Award


Graphis Merit Award

What we did

Experience Essence™




Industrial Design


Design for Manufacturing

Rituals are so central to human existence that we often take them for granted. Opening a champagne bottle is almost theatrical in its release of anticipation. Uncorking a bottle of wine requires the use of carefully crafted tools and is accompanied by the satisfying sound as the cork pops with compressed air from the bottle’s neck.

Even the humble can of soda has the tinny clank of the ring-pull and the fizz of its sweet contents. But opening a bottle of gin, no matter how premium, feels bereft of ritual. The simple twist of the metal cap feels mechanical and mundane. That was until OneKey.

The almost opaque, deep-blue glass shrouds the contents in mystery, inviting you to hold it and inspect it more closely. There’s an element of seduction, teasing you to explore the product and understand its secrets.

One Key gin bottles on blue background

One key for one bottle

In parts of Europe there is a lucrative counterfeit trade in premium alcohol. Enterprising criminals will collect empty bottles of high-end brands, fill them with inferior product and sell them on for a profit. For premium brands, this is a tough challenge to overcome. Counterfeit measures look clunky and ugly, and take away from the feeling of premiumness. OneKey addresses this with the idea of each bottle having one simple and elegant ‘key’ that can only open that one bottle. Once the key has been used to open the lid, it fuses to it, meaning the bottle cannot be refilled and re-sold.

One Key gin bottle closure detachedOne Key gin bottle closure One Key gin bottle opening sequence

Dramatic subtlety

The OneKey bottle is subtle and dramatic at the same time. The shape – angular and sharp – and the deep blue color contrast with the subtle branding and labeling on the bottle. The silver square at the very bottom of the bottle hints at the presence of a key. Just like the bottle of its sister beverage, Abnormal Vodka – also designed by NONOBJECT, OneKey incorporates a ‘neckless’ design. Together, the two bottles – one perfectly round and see-through, the other with flat sides and mysteriously dark – form a striking statement.

The manufacturing challenges for a rectangular glass vessel were vast. Incorporating the key into the base of the bottle further complicated the engineering. By working closely with the engineering and the manufacturing teams, the design intent was preserved all the way through production.

One Key gin bottle and Abnormal vodka bottleOne Key gin bottle spoutOne Key gin bottle and Abnormal vodka bottle top view

The ritual

The slight confusion when the user is presented with a seemingly un-openable lid turns to excitement upon discovery of the key. As the key cannot be removed from the top after it has been inserted, there is truly only one moment when each bottle transforms. Just like a champagne cork can pop only once, the OneKey ritual is made all the more powerful by its fleeting nature.

One Key gin bottle in a bar

What we did

Experience Essence™


Industrial Design

The Soraa MR16 LED lamp is truly revolutionary, outputting the same quality and warmth of light as halogens, while being longer lasting and more efficient.

The lighting company SORAA was co-founded by Professor Shuji Nakamura, one of the fathers of blue LED—the cornerstone of today’s advanced LED technology.

Soraa MR16 LED lamps

A natural solution

In order for the LED to function optimally, the lamp required a ‘heat sink’, which kept the LED chip cool, meaning it would not overheat and would last longer. This heat sink made up the bulk of the module, and therefore would need to form the primary design feature.

It was important to ensure the heat sink had the largest surface area possible, to help dissipate the heat. However, it also had to appear seamless, from the connector to the lamp. The answer came somewhere quite unexpected; trees. The solution is an extruded aluminum housing that is machine-shaped into a conical form, closely resembling a tree. The ‘branches’ create spaces for air to circulate, cooling the device.

The tree form also echoes and acknowledges the ecological aspects of the technology. LEDs are far better for the environment than incandescent bulbs and other lighting solutions, and they last many times longer before needing to be replaced.

Soraa MR16 LED lamp on black backgroundSoraa MR16 LED lamp design sketchSoraa MR16 LED lamp in handsSoraa MR16 LED lamp design detail

Constrained beauty

Beyond the constraints of the product’s internal technology, the MR16 also needed to work with existing infrastructure and fixtures. This meant the form had to distinguish itself within a confined space. Rather than simply being a piece of innovative technology, the product would add to the interior architecture of a space, it would be both discreet and beautiful. The DNA of the design can be seen throughout SORAA’s product range.

Soraa MR16 LED lamp top view

We live in a time when we are focused on quantifying, measuring and assessing. And we are better equipped than ever to do so. Our houses, our phones, our watches constantly measure our pace, our pulse, and our progress.

At NONOBJECT we see our New Year’s gift as an opportunity to engage beyond what corporate gifts typically do. It’s important that the physical aspects of the gift trigger surprise and delight, but even more important is the moment of reflection that the gift will inspire.

Measuring tape erased numbers

The false certainty of numbers

We may not be able to change our inclination to focus on the measurable, but we can remind ourselves that when we cling to the certainty that numerical measurements convey, it is only a part of the complete picture.

The classic measuring tape, instantly recognizable with its chrome clasp, arrives tightly rolled. Upon closer inspection, the numerical markings of the tape appear smudged, almost erased. Unrolling the tape reveals measurement markings that can be used, but only with some effort. Superimposed on part of the tape is a quote from the NONOBJECT book
“measurement of the human body is no substitute for the investigation of the human condition”.

Measuring tape with a message

Measuring tape greeting card

The observation of our obsession with measurements clearly resonated. People from around the world have reached out to us to let us know that this simple measuring tape made them take a step back to reflect on how looking beyond the measurable points to what really is immeasurable.

Measuring tape unrolled

What we did

Experience Essence™


Product Design

Design for Engineering

Zamzee, a wearable activity tracker, measures movement and activity levels throughout the day and inspires kids to be active.

Armed with research, field trials, and a simple prototype, HopeLab, a nonprofit organization, asked NONOBJECT to design a product that could help kids be more active. The result was Zamzee, a wearable activity tracker with an online platform. Using the USB connection on their activity tracker, kids log into an online point-based gaming platform to track and get rewards for their activity levels.

Zamzee wearable activity tracker on a shoe

Zamzee wearable activity tracker front and back views

Childhood obesity is an increasing problem in the United States and around the world. Many talk about an epidemic. Experts agree that the problem is partly attributed to the increasingly sedentary behaviors of kids and preteens. The pull of computer games, concerns about safe neighborhoods, and less funding for PE and after-school programs have all had a negative impact on the activity levels of kids. But getting kids to move more has proved to be a challenge. Behaviors are notoriously difficult to change, and even though some kids are aware that more activity means better health, this knowledge is not a strong motivator for behavioral change in this age group.

Zamzee wearable activity tracker in use

Ready for the action

As any parent can attest, computer games and online gaming exert a powerful pull over kids. Could online gaming and rewards tied to a wearable activity tracker be used to incentivize increased movement? Based on extensive research, HopeLab believed so. But designing for the fickle tastes of kids and preteens is not easy. The activity tracker had to be cool enough to be perceived as a must-have object, yet robust enough to survive the often carefree and rough-and-tumble way kids tend to handle things.

It was important that the activity tracker could physically stay on the kids – no easy feat. The solution was a unique clip, which grips on to kids’ clothing and won’t shake off, no matter how vigorous the activity. The clip is unique in that when not clipped onto something, it lies completely flat to avoid inadvertent snags. When used, the clip cantilevers out so that it can effortlessly grab and hold on to items both thin and thick. Want to clip Zamzee to your bathing suit, shoe or jacket – no problem!

Zamzee wearable activity tracker clipZamzee wearable activity tracker attached to pantsZamzee wearable activity tracker attached to a pocket

With the online tracking and reward system, Zamzee creates a virtuous cycle where physical activity is experienced as something fun and engaging rather than something to be avoided. And HopeLab’s studies show that kids with Zamzee move 30% more than the average child.

Zamzee wearable activity tracker user account page on websiteZamzee wearable activity tracker with dancing girls

Orange Zamzee wearable activity tracker

What we did

Experience Essence™


Industrial Design


Design for Manufacturing

The new T3 tablet from Control4 finally gives you a controller that feels right at home in your home.

A leader in solutions for the connected home, Control4’s products satisfy the demands of the most discerning connected home enthusiasts. But family members of those enthusiasts, and many others with them, balked at the techie looking control panels and remote controls required to operate the connected home. Realizing the need for a controller that would fit beautifully in a wide range of applications from any room in the home to professional environments, Control4 asked NONOBJECT to design a tabletop Android tablet based controller.

Control4 T3 tablet detached

Control4 T3 tablet on coffee table

Not only was the ergonomics of the tablet an important design consideration, the charging base was just as critical. Control4 wanted a base that was equally attractive with or without the docked tablet. We envisioned a 360 design, sleek and elegant from any angle, with no cable ports or other distractions visible, and the ability to secure the base to any surface if needed. Users are able to interact with the tablet on the base, and with the convenient docking design users can easily remove and return the tablet to the base with one hand.

Control4 T3 tablet design sketchesControl4 T3 tablet design prototypeControl4 T3 tablet design detailControl4 T3 tablet in hand

Even without turning on the display, the T3 is beautiful.

Joe Whitaker CEPro

Control4 T3 tablet back view

Both the table and base can be customized with colors and finishes, to further blend into any context. The end-result is a controller that can seamlessly transition from the home to corporate environments without ever looking out of place.

Control4 T3 tablet with two hands


Graphis Design Gold Award

What we did

Experience Essence™



Product Design



Design for Manufacturing

When the team at NONOBJECT was tasked with developing a new water brand, there was little more than a large pipe in the ground.

The natural spring water, filtered through layers of limestone at a depth of 273 meters, requires no further filtering or chemical processes. It was an opportunity to establish a minimal but powerful product and brand, that was all about the purity of the water.

Staying pure

The client—who had previously established successful alcohol brands—wanted a water product that could be branded just as strongly and distinctly as luxury beverages, without the luxury connotations.

Vodavoda water bottle on black background

NONOBJECT designed a clear, square PET bottle with the product name molded in relief, and a clear label with only a white typographic logo. The simple white logo echos the clear nature of the water in the bottle, and departs strongly from the trend at the time of water brands using kitsch mountain scenes and blue-green landscapes. The bottle has a wide mouth opening, to replicate the refreshing and unlimited feeling of drinking from a glass.

Vodavoda water bottle white labels

Be square

The square PET bottle developed for VODAVODA was truly cutting edge. It was the first genuinely square bottle on the market. For the uninitiated, making a square PET bottle does not seem complicated, but engineers from the most-advanced, established bottle manufacturers had failed, ending up with square bottles that weren’t actually square, but rather bulging in the middle, more like barrels.

The problem was not just one of engineering. To maintain structural integrity, square bottles required the use of more material, which drives costs higher. And the VODAVODA design with the wide opening made it even more difficult to maintain structural integrity and keep material use down.

Vodavoda water bottle caps Technical drawing of Vodavoda water bottle square bottom

The innovative design by NONOBJECT leveraged existing knowledge but pushed beyond the perceived constraints, and the result was a truly square bottle that could withstand all the rigors and requirements of use, packaging and transport. VODAVODA also reduced costs of shipping by fitting more product into each carton, and more cartons into each container, resulting in substantial logistical benefits.

Vodavoda water bottles carton packaging

The universal appeal of clarity

VODAVODA quickly became a success, far beyond the reaches of its initial market. The clarity of the design and the attention to detail brought a small unknown brand to be prominently featured in Colette’s, and to land large orders from as far away as Japan, quickly doubling production.

Vodavoda water bottle embossed logo

What we did

Experience Essence™



Brand Identity

With a focus on a carefully curated selection of absolutely delicious bean-to-bar chocolate from around the world, authenticity permeates every layer of The Chocolate Garage.

Getting your message across as a small mission-driven social entrepreneur is not easy. An evocative and consistent branding platform can be the critical difference between being heard and being ignored. The goal for The Chocolate Garage was to design a clearly branded identity and logo that put the mission driven messaging front and center in a warm, simple and evocative manner.

The Chocolate Garage welcome boardThe Chocolate Garage cocoa podsThe Chocolate Garage tasting plate

Authenticity throughout

From the difference The Chocolate Garage can make in the life of a cocoa farmer to the sense of well-being we experience when we savor true quality chocolate, it’s all about Happy Chocolate, a key differentiator for the brand.
The positive and happy, yet authentic style cuts across all the brand elements developed in this project.

Housed in a literal garage, the likes of which dominate the startup lore of Silicon Valley, The Chocolate Garage is a modest place with a grand vision. The branding reflects that with imagery and graphics evoking simple pleasures, community and happiness in an inspirational, even aspirational way.

The Chocolate Garage tasting plate with handsThe Chocolate Garage tasting eventThe Chocolate Garage trayThe Chocolate Garage tasting with kidsThe Chocolate Garage tasting setup

A logo based on the vision

Rather than building on the typical colors, imagery and typography associated with chocolate, the new logo for The Chocolate Garage is inspired by the location of the company headquarters that gave name to the company. Small and unassuming on the outside, the garage with the traditional wooden double doors houses one the best curated selections of sustainable artisanal chocolate in the world, a place where chocolate makers whose paths would otherwise never cross meet and collaborate, and where people for the very first time are introduced to the powerful idea and delicious taste of Happy Chocolate. Every weekend, since the inception of The Chocolate Garage, visitors to the farmers market across the street see a plain chalk board inviting them to the weekly chocolate tastings where anyone can experience chocolate in completely new way.

Evocative in its simplicity, the logo builds on the physical characteristics that are so central to authentic vision of The Chocolate Garage. With simple typography and gentle stripes, the logo is reminiscent of the lines on a chalkboard, or the boards of a simple wooden sign.

The Chocolate Garage logo

Unassuming yet powerful, the logo is at home in any setting, whether on the physical building, the website or any of the message driven marketing collateral that is so critical to the success of this brand.

The Chocolate Garage brand identity colorsThe Chocolate Garage logo on a bagThe Chocolate Garage logo on a t-shirt

Happy chocolate across all platforms

The branding platform allows this mission-driven social entrepreneur to clearly get her message across, whether to investors, new artisan makers, or chocolate aficionados, and to spread the message of how Happy Chocolate can literally change the world, one delicious bite at a time.

The Chocolate Garage collateral

The Chocolate Garage company promo card The Chocolate Garage website design

The Chocolate Garage cocoa beans