We recently caught up with David O’Coimin, Founder of Nook, to learn more about the brand and where he draws inspiration from:
Tell us the history of your brand
Nook started due to frustration with modern workspace.
The prevalent open office of today was designed by extroverts for extroverts. It’s an environment that stifles the most important (and expensive) asset in any organization – its people. I know there is a better way. I believe in ‘Design for the Extreme Benefits the Mean’.
Mid-2016 I took some funds from a previous sale of a business and invested in three prototypes of an idea for a sanctuary space which could easily be added to an open office. After feedback from friends and family I evolved things both physically and in terms of the target market and the next two protos were installed in a coworking space in Bristol, UK called the EngineShed, for field testing.
This instantly generated demand and we were off and running. We went post-revenue in September 2016. We haven’t looked back since.
Nook is a finely tuned withdrawal space where people can recharge, reflect calmly and reconnect with each other. It creates a sense of protection and shelter but without isolating the occupant. We don’t need to be fully enclosed – we just need enough privacy to not feel so much in the spotlight.
What serves as inspiration when creating new products?
Our mission is to address challenges, improve life and increase happiness. We want to be a catalyst for a more inclusive workspace. And we want to lead by example.
Originally, I took inspiration from what Google does in its working environs. I distilled this into something affordable and more ‘everyman’ because the mid-market is where most people work, and regular companies don’t have a Global Head of Employee Engagement or a Diversity & Inclusion Director.
Ultimately, I would like my company to support a network of connected, motivated, passionate people to live great lives; impacting people, communities and the planet in positive ways.
What market are your products designed for?
The environments we are helping evolve include workplace, learning space, the high street, shopping malls, events and the home. I believe that tomorrow’s creative environments desperately need more multifunctional and agile furniture solutions to respond to modern needs. The pandemic has accelerated this requirement, showing that fixed and rigid processes can quickly become unworkable.
Nook is no longer one product but now an expanding range of award winning personal and social spaces built to complement each other and to help make an environment more inclusive, engaging and agile. Nook is built to move and to grow and change over time. True sustainability comes not just from sourcing responsibly and designing for end-of-life recycling, which we do, but importantly through durability for long life and modularity to change within that time.
Describe the process your team goes through when creating a new product.
The best part of our process is our brutal honesty with ourselves about what we don’t know.
Take, by way of example, our design for the Nook Open – a shelter which can be used with existing furniture resources and accommodates pretty much any wheelchair. We took our first prototype for this to Neocon and we said “everyone, look how bad this is! It’s an admirable attempt but it’s laughably over-cooked. Help us get it right?”.
The engagement which that honesty and vulnerability created and the feedback we received helped us to remove so much over-thinking and eradicate unnecessary attempts to pack so much into the solution. The result was this beautifully simple, hyper usable, low-cost product like nothing else on the market. It’s so radical that it’s challenging a lot of perceptions about furniture and space.
CBRE recently created a report on the Future Of Furniture and a lot of what we saw there defines our vision for how we can contribute to the future of work through our process. We need solutions which are sustainable, agile, hackable, hygienic, with wellness, inclusivity and technology baked in.
Where are your products manufactured?
Nook is manufactured in the UK, the US and Mainland Europe.
Check out Nook Pod’s products on Hello Raye