In addition to be being cofounder of design and invention studio, Special Projects, Adrian is also a magician and a full member of the magic circle. In this talk he reveals how the process magicians use when designing new illusions can be applied to design.

This talk offers a unique perspective on designing magical user experiences which surprise and delight while also solving real problems. It begins with tales of magicians from the past and focuses on the methods they used to create extraordinary experiences out of seemingly ordinary objects. It then looks at how we as designers often strive to do the same, by making something extraordinary out of an existing technology, highlighting case examples from different designers. It will highlight tools and ways of thinking to find the right moment in an experience to inject with magic, and pitfalls to avoid your magical product from turning into a gadget!

The talk is of interest to anyone who wants to elevate an experience to the next level, creating surprise and delighting their users in a deeply emotional way.



Adrian is an inventor, engineer and experience designer on a mission to make the human-technology interaction meaningful and delightful.  As co-founder of Special Projects he harnesses technology, inclusive research and magic thinking to devise design propositions that feel familiar yet wondrous.  A self-taught magician since the age of 11 and full member of the Magic Circle, he relentlessly pursues his conviction that “designers should use magic thinking and try to introduce surprise, delight and fuzzy feeling in the things they create.”

After becoming the first ever James Dyson Fellow in 2007, and a Fellow of the Royal Commission of 1851, in 2010, for his work on interactive lighting systems, Adrian built a playground in Peru, had whisky with Derren Brown as a student in Bristol, and tried to make his teachers disappear.

His contagious passion for magic and engineering made him a beloved tutor and lecturer in Design & Innovation at Queen Mary University and the Royal College of Art in London, and a visiting faculty member at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design. There he teaches ‘Magic and Design’, a nomadic workshop where students are introduced to methods of using design and technology to create enchanted products and experiences.

Adrian Westaway: Magic and Design – Using the Thought Process of Magicians to Design New Experiences

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