The Wall Piano

As we traipse around the summer’s degree shows on the hunt for the hottest, brightest, tastiest new talent, some projects just leap out and slap us about the head with their all-round neatness. Like this: a little bit of tech-trickery that turns an ordinary wall into, you guessed it, a piano.

wall piano

As we traipse around the summer’s degree shows on the hunt for the hottest, brightest, tastiest new talent, some projects just leap out and slap us about the head with their all-round neatness. Like this: a little bit of tech-trickery that turns an ordinary wall into, you guessed it, a piano.

The Wall Piano is the work of Hon Lam Li (Patrick to his friends), who has just graduated from the London College of Communications’ Interactive Design BA. Watch a video of it in action here

We got in touch with Patrick to find out more:

CR: How does the Wall Piano work exactly?
P: There are two microphones attached on the wall surface. Those microphones are acting like human ears for the computer. Therefore, the computer is able to hear people who tap/bang on the wall. The program that I made could translate those hits into piano keys.

It all depends on how hard you hit the wall. The lower key will be produced when you hit it harder; and the higher key will be produced when you hit it softer. Just like every other modern piano, it has 88 keys.

wall piano2

CR: What inspired you to do it?
P: The original concept was partly from my childhood. I didn’t have many toys to play with when I was little. Both my parents were working all day long. I stayed at home with my grandparents all the time watching telly. There was a blank wall beside the TV set. I always wanted to know how to play the piano and I liked to pretend to play when there was piano music on the telly. Man… I was weird.

I was thinking that it could be much more fun to play piano on the wall and dance on the floor at the same time. That’s how I got my first concept for my Wall Piano. About 15 years later, I realized I had the skills to make it become possible.

CR: What are your plans now? What do you hope to be doing in the future?
P: I am looking for job in London right now. I hope I can do more sound and visual projects, maybe working on installations for galleries or museums.

My friend and I have created a freelance company called Sounds Butter. We would like to collaborate with different artists or designers but we are still at the beginning. The web site is not done yet, but you can still check out our Catalog page here

wall piano close-up

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