Jeremy MacDonnell 2 WaoBox

  • Kaiako / Lecturers
    Don Chooi, Jim Murray, Eddie Wong, Jocelyn Janon, Tammie Leong
  • School
    Media Design School
Judge's comments:

A fun and novel employment of Ambient UI and soundscapes for everyday life. The judges loved the elegant, mid-century inspired minimalist design of Woa Box, ushering the sounds of the forest to the home and workplace with surprise and delight.


Domestic urban environments are noise polluted and often not conducive to creative output. I wanted to explore how people could use Ambient UI and soundscapes to enhance the quality of a domestic urban environment. My idea was to create an ambient machine that reflects unique soundscapes to help people work, study, sleep, or even just relax.

Featuring three unique boxes and soundscapes, each WaoBox tells a story around its respective forest. Going out and hearing the sounds of the forest was imperative for developing my project. To capture the intended feeling, I recorded birds, wind, rain, and water and created ambient soundscapes.

Three separate ngahere stood out to me with their stories; Pureora, Rakiura, and Waipoua. These ngahere, like all others, have many stories to tell, but these are the stories that resonated with me. Protesters fought for Pureora, Rakiura is a coastal forest that shows how Aotearoa was and could be with little human interference, and Waipoua is home to the mighty Tāne-mahuta, God of the forest, who has centuries of stories to tell.

Appreciating and acknowledging Māoritanga in the project's name was important to keep myself accountable and honour the native land, its protectors, and its storytellers. WaoBox is a combination of Te Reo and English; Wao is Te Reo for forest. The name distils the essence of the project, and its simpleness works well to represent the uncomplicated nature of the device.