Art direction, design, UX

"A room can be full of sounds, some from within, some from the outside, some that happen by choice, some that happen by chance. The possibilities of their combinations are endless, but all sounds can be put together and become music in our minds."

"Nowadays, 28 seconds is a long time to be doing nothing but listening to a piece of music. However, 28 seconds are not enough even for replying to a text message or checking your Facebook feed."

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28×28 layout1
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The project

28x28 is an interactive music project conceived by Xavier Bonfill and designed by myself. The idea is that 1 to 4 individuals can make a piece of music using 28 fragments of sound each 28 seconds in length - ordered the same way as a game of dominos.

Like the traditional domino, 28x28 consists of 28 cards based on combinations of 7 values (sections of the ensemble).

0 = Tape electronics
1 = Bb Clarinet
2 = Piano
3 = String Quartet
4 = Percussion
5 = Modular Synthesizer 
6 = Randomizer of 1-5

Initially taking the form of a website and an iOS app for iPhone and iPad, the project culminated in a live performance with 8 musicians at the Studioscenen Det Kgl. Danske Musikkonservatorium (Copenhagen) as a part of the PULSAR Festival 2016. Four members from the audience were able to play on stage and the musicians performed according to their game in real time.

The Challenge

My role was to define a visual language and look and feel for the game, as well as coordinating how the live filming/projection of the performances, so that audience could follow in detail what was happening on stage.

The design had to work on different mediums including, print, digital and plastic for the phisical cards. It had to be intuitive and accompany the music but not eclipse it. Following extensive exploration of different languages and color palettes, combined with an understanding of Bonfill’s interaction with the music – how he deconstructed then recomposed the music, I came to the conclusion that the look and feel of the piece should be strong and balanced, but not colorful or crowded, staying unpredictable and playful but refraining from becoming frivolous or silly.


A beta version of 28x28 is available for the brower and for iOS.

The browser version is free to play and works on all devices and platforms. Visit here.

With the iOS app, you get optimised performance for your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, better sound quality (256 m4a) and the exclusive DARK MODE, which allows you to play extranoisy recompositions of the music instead. Get it here.

Xavier Bonfill - concept, composition, electronics
Frederic Font - development
Víctor De La Rosa, Lea Han, Irene Bianco, Pernille Kristiansen, Paulina Storbacka, Jenny Lüning, Vilius Daskevicius - musicians

With support from Fundació Phonos / UPF Barcelona & OSIC / Generalitat de Catalunya.


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