It might have the whiff of the emperor’s new clothes - or even an April Fool’s Day jape come a month early - but, in typically arch style, OP-1 synth creator Teenage Engineering really has become a founding partner in a company called Nothing.
Said to be “dedicated to removing the barriers between people and technology to create a seamless digital future,” Nothing is a London-based startup with some heavy-hitting investors.
These include Tony Fadell, a former Apple employee who’s listed as the inventor of the iPod and the co-inventor of the iPhone, YouTuber Casey Neistat, Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin, and co-founder and CEO of Reddit Steve Huffman. The name is inspired by the idea that technology should fade into the background and feel like nothing.
It’s now been confirmed that Teenage Engineering’s Jesper Kouthoofd will be Nothing’s Creative Lead and “the visionary” behind its design world, while Tom Howard, TE’s vice head of design, will be Nothing’s Head of Design.
“I’m really excited to welcome teenage engineering to the growing Nothing family,” said Carl Pei, CEO & co-founder of Nothing. “They consist of some of the best designers and creatives that I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Together, we’ve created a product roadmap that’s unique and true to Nothing’s vision.”
This is not the first time that Teenage Engineering has collaborated with another company. It previously worked on the Frekvens range with IKEA, and had a hand in the Playdate gaming system, but it seems that its involvement with Nothing goes much deeper.
“When Carl first told me about Nothing’s vision I remember being super excited thinking about how this would be translated into the design identity of the products,” said Jesper Kouthoofd. “After months of research and development, we are now in a place where I believe we will have something exciting to show to the world.”
Something out of Nothing, then, although we still don’t know what that something will be. That it will be design-led is almost inevitable, but whether it will have any practical benefit for musicians - or anyone else, for that matter - remains to be seen.
In the meantime, Nothing is set to open up a crowdfunding investment campaign on 2 March; more than 20,000 people have signed up for early access with a registered interest close to $30 million. Find out more on the Nothing website.