Designing the Future of Music

Tech, Community

Designing The Future of Music is about facilitating conversations and creative decisions across disciplines of design within the sphere of music.

The history of recorded music is one of design opening doors, connecting artist to audience, forging emotional bonds, inspiring powerful memories and defining the face of popular culture.

With exploration of a myriad of genres and mediums, Designing the Future of Music at GID focuses on design’s power in expanding the access, discovery, and experience of music today and tomorrow. Program outcomes are to explore and reimagine the rich and evolving relationship between design and music.

Designing the Future of Music, a program founded by Lawrence Azerrad, partnered with California College of the Arts (CCA) Design Futures Lab and Global Innovation Design (GID) at Dyson School of Design Engineering in summer 2020 explored how design can transform the way music transforms us. Graduate students working in 4 teams across countries and time-zones, led by Dr. Leila Sheldrick (GID), Sara Dean (CCA), and Lawrence Azerrad (LAD Design), engaged directly with a roster of professionals working across the music industry, design, engineering and technology fields. The resulting concepts were presented at public events during San Francisco Design Week bringing together over 1600 viewers from around the globe.
Program description by Lawrence Azerrad

Student Work


Shape enables people to create an expression of their musical persona. We combine both your music listening history and your physiological reactions to curate how you listen in the future.

Created by:
Nick Grafakos
Seetharaman Subramanian
Christian Pugsley
Maraid McEwan


Tastebuds is a project that expands the world of music through the sense of taste.  Users are able to taste music through a multi-sensory spoon, change the flavor of their music by adding different condiments and ultimately be given a taste receipt to help them better understand their taste in music.

Created by:
Harika Adivikolanu
Ziqq Rafit
Ayana Enomoto-Hurst
Serra Umut

Busk Bait

Busk Bait aims to address the gray area between the busy streets and disdain tunes of London. This platform promotes hidden talents and uses music as a tool for people to have better social interactions, spread gratitude and joy for underrated artists. Technology is used to enhance musical talent rather than overshadowing it.

Created by:
Grishma Bhanderi
Bhavana Uppaluri
Yumiko Kamada


We can do more than just listen to music. With re:form everyone can create, produce and share music, regardless of their background or prior music experience. Creators from all over the world can make their voices heard by producing fun and engaging musical content for their followers or telling powerful, inspiring stories about their lives, their cultures and their homes.

Created by:
David Harris
Millicent Wong
Daniel Karaj
Harrison Tan


HOOK is a wearable that brings people together in music festivals. With HOOK, you can generate game groups in large gatherings to play the music game “finish the lyric” in an immersive way using simple and intuitive gestures.

Created by:
Jingyi Li
Luqian Wang
Man Taratorn
Charles Sun

Free Thrill

Conceptualised as a tool for music lovers, Free Thrill is a wearable technology that reacts to its environment through vibrations triggered by distance and thermal sensors, gently reminding wearers of the individual's physical boundaries and comfort zone within busy festival environments.

Created by:
Eve Lerouge
Axel Pietschker
Xinyu Wang
Peter Chen


Synk is designed to help you create a deeper connection to your music and to yourself. Combined with your music, Synk is a tool to do everything from expressing yourself, to looking inwards through introspection, to immersing yourself in your home environment.  

Created by:
Patrick Wang
Eryn Bathke
Xiaohan Liao
Christian Pugsley


 Memento is an interactive installation designed to give fans a meaningful look into the personal stories, influences and causes that shaped their favorite artists. Fans use digital tiles to write personal reflections, messages of support or shared hardships which then become a part of a communal storyboard around the artists’ work, creating a deeply personal immersive experience.

Created by:
Harika Adivikolanu
Yan Yan
Ashlyn Jackson
Yan Wang


Music you can touch, own and collect. The Curio empowers all artists to build highly engaged fan bases by releasing unique audiovisual experiences through a new physical format that is compatible with the latest immersive technologies.

Created by:
Yaozheng Wang
Sora Won
Shang-Te Chen
Nick Grafakos
David Harris

Living Music

Living Music is a platform that enhance the experience of “living” with music. It extracts real-time sound elements from a listener's environment and integrates them with original music composed by artists.

Created by:
Dan Qian
Xin Xu
Di Wang
Serra Umut
Daniel Karaj

Behind the Process

Designing the Future of Music 2020

Design Futures Lab, California College of the Arts
Global Innovation Design at Dyson School of Design Engineering, Imperial College London

Made possible by the following speakers:
  • Lawrence Azerrad DTFOM program founder & CEO LADdesign
  • Ishmael Butler Rapper, Record Producer and Songwriter
  • Sara Dean Director, Design Futures Lab, California College of the Arts
  • Jessica Helfand Founder, Design Observer
  • Michael Hendrix Partner & Global Design Director, IDEO
  • Tony Kiewel President, Sub Pop Records
  • Helen Maria Nugent Dean of Design, California College of the Arts
  • Adrian Shaughnessy Author, Publisher and Design Leader
  • Dr. Leila Sheldrick Director, GID at Dyson School of Design Engineering
  • Nep Sidhu Artist, Black Constellation
  • Ty Stiklorius Founder CEO of Friends at Work
  • Ivy Ross VP of Hardware Design & UX, Google
  • John Walters Editor, Eye Magazine