Explore the nature of communication through Yuri Suzuki's multi-sensory London installation

The Pentagram partner promises a dynamic audio experience through his new installation – Sonic Bloom – in the heart of Mayfair.

27 August 2021

Because we’ve all been somewhat starved of our favourite indoor galleries or new exhibitions over the last two years, Sonic Boom might be the answer to our prayers. A community-focused, multi-sensory installation exploring the nature of communication through the interactive deployment of sound. The installation is curated by Alter-Projects and designed by sound artist, designer, and electronic musician, Yuri Suzuki – a Pentagram partner. The artist is UK-based and designs sound and experiences, working at the intersection of installation, interaction and product design.

The installation takes the form of a network of colourful horn-shaped elements that together make up a fantastical interactive flower. The sculpture amplifies the sounds absorbed from the surroundings and transports voice recordings from people at street level through its stems. It works as a communication tool, inviting visitors to listen on one side and speak on the other. Alter-Projects hopes that it will enhance the music of the city that often goes unnoticed: birdsong, leaves rustling and passers by. It also encourages visitors to record their own voices through the horns so they become part of the installation. Due to the pandemic, there was almost two years of planning and production before the launch.

“The Brown Hart Gardens is absolutely a hidden gem in central London," Suzuki says of the location. “I walked around the area often but until I got this commission I never went up to the actual garden. That inspired me and led to sketches of a tree-like sculpture where people can gather.”


Alberto Balazs: Sonic Bloom by Yuri Suzuki (Copyright © Alter-Projects, 2021)

Through a website, participants’ voice recordings are transformed into flower animations which are randomly planted on a map of Mayfair. This means that we can record our voices at the physical installation as well as online and then invite others to collaborate on our unique Sonic Bloom flower design. Suzuki aimed to capture three audible themes; people, nature and the surrounding environment. Sonic Bloom seeks to thereby make human interactions easier in spaces where they don't usually occur by inviting the public to engage with their surrounding environment.

Hopefully, installations like Suzuki’s will encourage us to go outside and reconnect with the environment and the city after a time where many are feeling a little anxious to mix with our fellow city dwellers.

The installation is located in Brown Hart Gardens, North Mayfair and is free to visit. And a parallel digital experience will launch during the London Design Festival in September. You can share your Sonic Blooms at #SonicBloomMayfair.

"The mission is all about bonding with the community," says Suzuki, "with an inviting, natural presence and quality acoustics." Although, as Suzuki mentions, the exhibit is in a very central, and very busy part of London, behind Oxford Street and Bond Street, there is also a strong local community of residents alongside the visitors and shoppers – "I would like to create a moment that potentially merges all the people there," claims the artist. “I needed to consider sound, safety and narrative," he continues. “I enjoyed the process of developing these together, of getting to know the community through working with Grosvenor.”

Suzuki is very grateful for the help of Anne-Laure Pingreoun from Alter-Projects and the work of Gabriel Vergara from Pentagram as well as the team from Grosvenor.

GalleryAlberto Balazs: Sonic Bloom by Yuri Suzuki (Copyright © Alter-Projects, 2021)

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Alberto Balazs: Sonic Bloom by Yuri Suzuki (Copyright © Alter-Projects, 2021)

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About the Author

Dalia Al-Dujaili

Dalia is a freelance writer, producer and editor based in London. She’s currently the digital editor of Azeema, and the editor-in-chief of The Road to Nowhere Magazine. Previously, she was news writer at It’s Nice That, after graduating in English Literature from The University of Edinburgh.

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