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A Sound and Sculpture Installation Celebrating San Francisco’s Sights and Sounds

FDT Bureau

Japanese sound artist and designer Yuri Suzuki recently unveiled Arborhythm, an innovative outdoor art installation that captures the sights and sounds of San Francisco, California. Suzuki’s sound project was commissioned in conjunction with the Art of Noise exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SMOMA). This exhibition is a multi-sensory tribute to the impact of design on music consumption over the past century. Know more about it on FURNITURE DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY (FDT).

Arborhythm is strategically positioned at the entrance of SMOMA, where its technicolour sculptures stand out against the museum’s muted architectural tones. Inspired by the forms of trees, these sculptures are equipped with speakers that play sounds reflecting the San Francisco Bay area. According to the designer, the sculpture’s tree-like form symbolizes a welcoming presence, while its colours are drawn from local objects, landmarks and natural surroundings, anchoring it in the city’s context.

A key feature of Suzuki’s design is its inclusivity, making the installation accessible to all visitors and fostering a sense of community. The long-stemmed sculptures also pay homage to iconic attractions such as the Golden Gate Bridge, utilizing its distinctive international orange hue. Constructed from aluminium and steel, the sculptures are both visually striking and functional. The aluminium has been chosen for its malleability, allowing for the creation of trumpet-shaped horns, while the steel ensures durability and strength, securing the installation’s permanence. These sculptures, painted in vivid colours, are set on large circular bases that double as seating areas.

The horn-shaped speakers of Arborhythm offer visitors a unique auditory experience, featuring sounds like remixed foghorns, ocean waves, cable cars and sea lions. This auditory landscape was developed through a collaboration with Joseph Becker, the project curator, and reflects a shared interest in generative music and AI. The AI-curated sounds provide a relaxing ambiance in the otherwise concrete-dominated environment of the museum's location. Through this blend of art and sound, Arborhythm seeks to create a serene environment for museum visitors. Suzuki expressed his hope that the audience would find a sense of calm and connection within the installation, making it a space they would want to revisit.

Image credit: Myleen Hollero




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