Today, sound designer and artist Yuri Suzuki is joining Pentagram as its 24th partner, pushing the prominent firm outside of traditional graphic design. He will be working with other Pentagram partners in London on branding and other types of projects as well as continuing to pursue his own practice as a designer.
Suzuki established his eponymous design studio in 2010, where he pursued various art projects while also working with prominent companies such as Audi, Swarovski, Google, and Disney Research to create sound experiences and installations. He has presented work at the V&A Museum, Design Museum London, and Tate Britain. His DIY musical instrument Ototo, which lets users play music using any object that conducts electricity, is now in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection. He is part of Fast Company‘s Most Creative People community.
“We see Yuri as a pure inventor/designer,” graphic designer and Pentagram partner Paula Scher, who helped select him as a partner, tells Fast Company via email. “Though his work is sound-based, it is about ideas as much as music, and the result may be equally visually exciting.”
Still, he’s an unusual choice for a graphic design firm. “I was quite surprised in the beginning that Pentagram approached me to join as a partner,” Suzuki says. “But Pentagram wants to investigate the field of sound and interactive design. In a way, I think it’s a perfect match.”
According to recent Pentagram partner and industrial designer Jon Marshall, Suzuki’s partnership is part of the firm’s reaction to a changing design landscape. “What I think is happening is that clients are asking for projects that are complete experiences,” he says. “Clients have projects that don’t fall easily into the silo of an identity, or a product, or an exhibition.”
Suzuki’s range of skills will bring a new element to Pentagram’s design practice. “I think he, by himself, is more multidisciplinary than me or any of the other partners, and crucially adds art and sound as extra dimensions,” Marshall says. “I think it’s basically going to allow some incredible collaborations here.”