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Mission
To enhance the unquantifiable aspects of life: empathy, wellbeing, delight, with meaningful design and invention.
Clients
BBC
Blackberry
Braun
Burton
Coty
Google AI
Lego
Logitech
Nokia
University of Oxford
P&G
Samsung
Skoda
Sonos
DESIGN VALUES
Relevance
Empathy
Clarity
Magic
Optimism
Special Projects
We are a design and invention agency founded by designer Clara Gaggero Westaway and magician Adrian Westaway.

We work with brave companies to bring clarity to complex problems, discover new opportunities and transform them into tomorrow’s most loved customer experiences and products.

Rigorous research combined with our optimistic approach brings magic, delight and a very human quality to some of the most challenging technical problems, creating value for our clients and adding meaning to the lives of the people we design for.

Our mission is to enhance the unquantifiable aspects of life: empathy, wellbeing, delight, with meaningful design and invention. To achieve this we leverage human insight, technology and the thought process of magicians.
Clara Gaggero Westaway
Co-founder & Creative Director
Clara is an intrepid designer, inventor and creative director committed to enriching the lives of people through hopeful product innovation.

Whether this means helping the elderly to engage with technology, reimagining the playground, or devising systems that help us focus on the present, Clara’s concepts bring empathy, optimism and clarity to where society needs it.

The daughter of a mechanical engineer and a fashion boutique owner, she studied industrial design in Italy before setting up her own fashion label in Berlin, only to get back into design engineering a few years later, this time in London. Consequently, her design method is defined by an unparalleled ability to integrate seemingly disparate realms and elements: art and engineering, purpose and aestheticism, the physical and the digital.

When she’s not the colourful and multifaceted co-founder and creative director of Special Projects, Clara is a spirited design-thinking speaker and visiting senior lecturer at the Royal College of Art and at Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design and a faculty member of Oxford University Said Business School OSLP.
Adrian Westaway
Co-founder & Director of Technology and Magic
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.
Alexa Münch
Senior Designer
When she’s not in the studio working on user research and product development, Alexa can be found flying an airplane, playing volleyball or working on a prototype for a smart tent in her bedroom.

A glider pilot since age 16, Alexa would have followed in the footsteps of her aviator dad, hadn’t it been for her burning interest in art and engineering. Moving to London from Germany to pursue her passions, she gained degrees in Design and Innovation from Queen Mary University and Goldsmith College, London. She is now an emerging inventor and product designer whose ideas are shaped by an unabashed sense of adventure.
Laura Hollis-Ryan
Client Services Lead & Sustainability Specialist
With a background in marketing and management of social good projects, Laura is our super-organised Client Services Lead. Her early career saw her campaigning for an international think tank, creating content for sustainable brands and forging new links with businesses for the Arts Council.

Laura is also qualified with the Cambridge University Institute of Sustainability Leadership and so advises us on all things sustainability - helping us and our clients to take responsibility for the products and services we create together.

When she's not at Special Projects creating new projects with clients she's the Community Leader for Plastic Free Peckham, part of the Plastic Free Community initiative from national marine conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage, inspiring the local community and businesses to reduce single use plastic. Laura also sits on the Climate Emergency Response Strategy Group for Southwark Council.
Matteo Bandi
Product Designer
Figuring out your true calling fresh out of secondary school is no easy job and polymath-in-the-making Matteo, knows that for a fact. Unable to decide on one career path, he instead went for all and after finishing his A-levels took admission tests for every course he was interested in: medicine, vet school, psychology, architecture, agricultural studies and design. Luckily for us, destiny played its part and he chose design, something he's now grateful for.

Joining Special Projects and being able to design for other people feels almost like a privilege, he thinks. Going out and talking to people, being allowed into their world, are the parts of the process that he enjoys most.

When he's not at the studio helping shape the next invention, Matteo can be found playing the piano or the ukulele or experimenting with video, a medium he's fascinated by.
Joana Mendes
Visual Designer
Graphic designer and photographer with a flair for typography, ignited in her in the early 90s, while hand drawing cassette sleeves with her father, Portuguese Joana brings her artistic finesse and mellow vibes to the world of innovation.

Before joining Special Projects Joana created identity design for a jazz music label, collaborated with an industrial designer on reviving the skill of knife sharpening and helped a Pharma startup simplify complex medical topics through clear, elegant design.

An enthusiastic vegan and long distance runner, Joana logs her culinary adventures on her blog, ‘Veggies on The Counter’.
Selected Online Press
This post-COVID grocery checkout never lets two people touch the same spot
Fast Company, 2021
How can design help communicate the Covid vaccination roll out?
Design Week, 2020
Enhancing the unquantifiable aspects of life with Special Projects
Design Wanted, 2020
Envelope paper sleeves turn smartphones into analog devices
Dezeen, 2020
Google just released a ‘phone’ made of paper, for your sanity
Fast Company, 2019
Google debuts new digital well-being ‘experiments’ like a notification mailbox, unlock clock & even a paper phone
Tech Crunch, 2019
Magic UX totally reinvents how we use phones, and it’s brilliant
Fast Company, 2018
Special Projects Reveal Intuitive New Interface Magic UX
Dexigner, 2018
New Thinking for Old Challenges
Creative Review, 2017
Special Projects' Adrian & Clara Gaggero Westaway on secret briefs, ageism and magic
Creative Boom, 2017
Special Projects on why, sometimes, design is best kept simple
It's Nice That, 2017
Missing Pages project is a survival guide for flat-pack furniture assembly
Dezeen, 2016
The Monocle Weekly 386
Monocle Radio, 2016
‘Missing Pages’ bring a sense of positivity to a broken flat-pack experience
Born to Engineer, 2016
Old News: Special Projects bridges the generation gap at the Design Museum
Zetteler, 2016
Pretty Strange and Magical: Q&A with Special Projects
Zetteler, 2016
Design with a fuzzy feeling
Medium, 2015
How an industrial designer is using magic to invent amazing objects
Business Insider, 2014
Archive
Selected Online Press
Selected Print Press
Creative Review February 2017: The Age Issue
Project featured: NEW OLD Exchange
Réinventer Lego
Project featured: Bit Planner
The Art of Calendar Design
Project featured: Bit Planner
Flat World Navigation: Collaboration and Networking in the Global Digital Economy
Interview with Clara Gaggero Westaway
Design Diversity Exhibition Catalogue
Project featured: Out of the Box
Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity
Project featured: Out of the Box
Download Press Images
Please use the links below to download press images for each project. To use online for non-commercial purposes please credit fully and email a notice to the address below. For print, video and commercial purposes please contact us by email.
Adrian Press Portraits
Clara Press Portraits
All Projects
Clara & Adrian Press Portraits
Studio Press Portraits