Erik Spiekermann

PaperSpecs reviews: Beatie Wolfe ‘Raw Space’ NFC Cards

PaperSpecs reviews: Beatie Wolfe ‘Raw Space’ NFC Cards

The US authority on print design runs its second feature on the singer-songwriter Beatie Wolfe…

Germany's Page magazine features Beatie Wolfe's Raw Space

Germany's Page magazine features Beatie Wolfe's Raw Space

Germany’s leading design authority features Beatie Wolfe’s latest innovation and design collaboration with Sean Adams

Dezeen on Beatie Wolfe's Raw Space Album Deck

Beatie Wolfe's "intelligent" Raw Space album reveals itself as a deck of cards

Gunseli Yalcinkaya 

Musician Beatie Wolfe has uploaded her latest album onto a pack of cards that listeners tap on a phone to play each song.

Each card in the eight-track "album deck" is embedded with a near field communication (NFC) chip that allows listeners to access a song per card when tapped against a device, using technology similar to a city travel card or Apple Pay.

Scanning the card using a NFC-reader app reveals an individual page for the track, which is complete with lyrics, the music video, photos, song notes and information about the card itself.

The content on each card is updated periodically to give the "intelligent" album – called Raw Space – a "living" or "dynamic" quality.

The London-based musician wanted to "reimagine the vinyl experience for the digital age" by adding a tangible element to the listening experience.

"I fell in love with albums as a kid and saw opening up a physical record as a tangible gateway into the world of the album," Wolfe told Dezeen.

"I like that it brings back the tangibility, the story, the artwork and a sense of ceremony to the experience of listening to a record," she explained.

"But at the same time it presents a new way to experience music, so that it feels different and magical. In this sense, it encourages you to go deep and sit down with an album as an art form again," she continued.

Wolfe worked together with eight international designers to make unique graphics for each of the eight cards based on a black and gold foil colour-scheme – a reference to a gold mylar-wrapped space chamber installation she created for the Victoria and Albert Museum last year.

Erik Spiekermann, Marian Bantjes, Astrid Stavro, Lucienne Roberts, Rafael Prieto, Sean Adams, Yuma Naito and design studio Atlas were tasked with creating graphicsfor each card based on their visual response to an assigned song.

"With the gold mylar being a key feature, the idea was then to have each song card freely designed by eight leading international designers to reflect their own visual response to the music. I didn't want to lead this aspect but have it be their own interpretation," said Wolfe.

According to the musician, it is the first time gold foil has been incorporated into a NFC card.

Many designers are embarking on projects exploring the relationship between music and technology.

Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design graduate Liron Gino designed a set of jewellery-like devices that allow deaf and hard-of-hearing people to experience music through vibration.