Devon Turnbull aka OJAS: Redefining the Art of Sound
by @industrialkonzept Team
In the universe of Hi-Fi audio, one personality stands out in particular: Devon Turnbull. His custom sound systems shape not only the sound of renowned places like Supreme Stores, but also exclusive celebrity settings and private homes. Mark Ronson, Virgil Abloh, Nigo, and many well-known record producers are among the admirers of his work. But the visionary founder of OJAS and co-founder of the influential brand Nom de Guerre is more than just a craftsman of high-quality sound systems.
Turnbull's journey to building speakers began early. As early as middle school, he experimented with homemade sound systems from salvaged parts. This passion for audio continued in high school and during his studies in sound engineering. He was particularly fascinated by high fidelity, an interest that deepened in the early 2000s. Originally, he started building record players before turning to building every component of his home system, including speakers.
Devon Turnbull (right) and Nigo (left) - First public OJAS Listening Room, built in collaboration with USM Haller and Kvadrat Acoustics, located in the USM showroom in the heart of Downtown NYC.
In addition to his work at OJAS, Turnbull co-founded Nom de Guerre, a creative collective formed in 2002 and active until 2010. The brand emerged in a small space at the corner of Bleecker and Broadway in Manhattan. This project was a collaboration between Isa Saalabi, Holly Harnsongkram, Wil Whitney, and Turnbull himself, all from different creative fields. Nom de Guerre quickly became a hotspot for streetwear and sneakers, with special collaborations like the Red Wing x Nom de Guerre shoes.
One of his most defining collaborations at the time was with Buzz Rickson's, a Japanese brand specializing in the meticulous reproduction of military clothing. Turnbull's enthusiasm for their attention to detail led to a collaboration that he values to this day.
HiFi Listening Room Dream No. 1 in London
The relationship between Turnbull and Virgil Abloh, which began shortly after the end of Nom de Guerre, was also significant. Influenced by Turnbull's earlier works, Abloh sought contact and developed a deep friendship and professional collaboration. They exchanged ideas about audio equipment and music and eventually worked together, with Abloh commissioning Turnbull's speakers for his "Figures of Speech" exhibition.
Turnbull's speakers for Virgil Abloh's "Figures of Speech" exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum - Photo: Danny Perez, Brooklyn Museum
During the COVID-19 quarantine, Turnbull developed the OJAS Kit project. These kits allow customers to build their own speakers at home with minimal tool use. The success of the project was overwhelming, quickly resonating with a creative community that found joy in personalizing their speakers.
Assembled Speaker Kit by OJAS
Turnbull's contribution to sound culture extends far beyond his studio work. His systems are found in various prestigious places, including Public Records in NYC and Supreme Stores. His work at Public Records, one of his biggest projects, demonstrates his ability to integrate Hi-Fi sound concepts into larger venues. This experience taught him how to combine subtle mid-tones with powerful sub-bass to create a unique auditory experience.
System by Devon Turnbull in the Supreme Store Seoul, 2023
Turnbull's career, marked by curiosity, creativity, and a deep passion for music and design, is an ongoing journey of innovation and artistic expression. His work, whether in fashion, design, or audio construction, reflects a deep understanding of the power of creative synergies and the importance of quality and authenticity.
OJAS speaker system in the home of renowned artist Daniel Arsham - Photo published by Daniel Arsham (Instagram Story)
Photos: © Devon Turnbull (Instagram)