Talented graphic design student Michael Harper is catching the attention of the creative industries with his unique design – a model city which plays music from the different buildings.
The recent Middlesex University graduate created the 3D ‘Beat City’ for his final year project, and it allows users to assemble the city then listen to music of their choice from different sites in the model.
The quirky concept impressed design industry representatives and Michael was selected to showcase it at the influential D&AD New Blood exhibition. This led to ‘Beat City’ being highlighted as a ‘favourite’ on leading design magazines such as Design Week and Digital Arts, in addition to being profiled on the D&AD website as one of the best pieces of work at the exhibition.
Michael designed ‘Beat City’ to be given as a gift, used as a docking station for the house or an office environment, or as a puzzle for children. The kit allows users to structure their own cities, building their own models dependent on their requirements. Each laser cut wood building features a mini speaker, which once connected to a smartphone or MP3 player, will play music.
A specially created smart phone app will even allow buyers of the product view the models and send in personal sketches, then having components made by Michael.
Middlesex University graduate Michael Harper said: “ The entire project was inspired by my personal interests such as puzzle making, music and technology. These three topics allowed me to focus even more because they are something I'm very passionate about, which enabled me to fly through the project with constant excitement.
Receiving all this recognition from the industry was a major surprise to me because, I started the project with pure fun in mind and once I started to get recognised for the project I realised the seriousness of it all.”
Overall the entire experience from the industry gave me an extra boost into design agencies. I'm now working for a strategic design consultancy which specialise in retail and leisure where I'm having great fun learning and getting a real taste for the industry."
Michael, who achieved a first class honours degree, spent more than 12 weeks on the project, which not only included the miniature city, but also a 3D poster made from MDF, keep-sake packaging, a video advert and the app.
The Stratford based designer has also been recognised by Noise Festival, an organisation which looks for talented designers and artists breaking into the industry. In the future he hopes to secure investment to develop the product further and work in a design agency as a graphic designer.
Top: Michael Harper with his final year project
Bottom: Components of one of the city’s buildings