The “objective” world is one of facts, data, and actuality. The world of the “nonobject” is about perception, experience, and possibility. In this highly original and visually extravant book, Branko Lukic (an award-winning designer) and Barry Katz (an authority on the history and philosophy of design) imagine what would happen if design started not from the object but from the space between people and the objects they use. The “nonobject,” they explain, is the designer’s personal experiment to explore our relation to the observable world. So they show us an umbrella that puts us in a harmonious relationship with nature by sending falling rain rushing through the handle from an upturned top that resembles a flower; a spoon with a myriad of tiny bowls that allow us to savor our soup; a “superpractical” cell phone with keypad, speaker, and microphone on every surface. They imagine the ideal material, “Thinium,” incredibly thin and incredibly strong, environmentally and aesthetically beneficial. They show us clocks and watches that free us from time told by artificial demarcation and consider the possibility of a digital camera that captures the part of the scene we didn’t see. In NONOBJECT, product design meets philosophy, poetry, and the theater of the imagination. The nonobject fills us with surprise and delight.
About the Authors
Branko Lukic is the originator and creator of the Nonobject design philosophy. Branko is founder and principal of Nonobject Studio in Palo Alto, California (www.nonobject.com), which provides design innovation solutions and strategic consulting services to established companies, nonprofit organizations, and startups worldwide. He holds many patents and has won numerous awards. He teaches in the Product Design Program at Stanford University and has lectured at universities, conferences, and design exhibitions around the world.
Barry M. Katz is Professor of Industrial and Interaction Design at California College of the Arts, Consulting Professor in the Design Group at Stanford University, and Fellow at IDEO, Inc. He is coauthor of Change by Design, with Tim Brown, and NONOBJECT, with Branko Lukić (MIT Press).
“In this book, product design meets philosophy, poetry, and the theater of the imagination. The Nonobject fills us with surpise and delight.” —Innovation Watch
“A century of exponential innovation has left us in a world of too many artifacts—and too few. The result is a poverty of abundance that begs for a radical new view of design. NONOBJECT is that radical new view.”
—Paul Saffo, managing director, DISCERN
“A designer’s motto should always be ‘What if?’ It certainly is the motto of NONOBJECT. The fantasy of what an object should or could be becomes a way for the designer to embrace experimentation and imbue projects with a vitality that expands beyond the physical object and into our experience.”
—Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art
"Branko Lukic is the best design-fiction designer in the world. His wry and eerie metaphysical extrapolations make lesser efforts seem toylike."
“NONOBJECT explores the space between the product and the person—exactly the place where contemporary design should be looking. This relational space is normally explored using the tools of interaction and service design. Branko Lukic does it by developing product design fictions as triggers for new ideas—and thus for new social conversations. It is a challenging approach that brings very inspiring results.”
—Ezio Manzini, Politecnico di Milano