Marina Willer joins Pentagram

Wolff Olins creative director Marina Willer is to become Pentagram London’s first female partner. She will become the design firm’s 18th partner worldwide

Wolff Olins creative director Marina Willer is to become Pentagram London’s first female partner. She will be the design firm’s 18th partner worldwide

Perhaps best known for the Tate identity produced by her group at Wolff Olins (with Brian Boylan) in 1999, Brazilian-born Willer first came to London 15 years ago to study at the Royal College of Art. For the past 13 years she has been at Wolff Olins where she has worked on major identity schemes that include the Southbank Centre, Amnesty International and Russian telecoms operator Beeline.

Amnesty International. Wolff Olins team led by Robert Jones and Marina Willer, 2008

Southbank Centre identity, 2007. Wolff Olins team led by Brian Boylan and Marina Willer

Identity for Basel-based museum Schaulager. Wolff Olins team led by Brian Boylan and Marina Willer


Beeline identity. Wolff Olins, 2005. Wolff Olins team led by Sairah Ashman and Marina Willer. All Wolff Olins work, copyright Wolff Olins

“Marina has carved out an impressive reputation in the London design scene over the last 10 years for both her cultural and corporate work. And it’s this combination that we feel fits perfectly with Pentagram’s approach,” current partner Domenic Lippa says of her appointment.

Perhaps less well known is that Willer is also a filmmaker. Her short films have been shown in festivals around the world while, in 2004, Cartas de Mae won best short at the Sao Paulo Film Festival. Her film Exposed (below) introduced Richard Rogers’ exhibition in the Pompidou Centre and Design Museum

“I am really proud to be invited to become a partner at Pentagram. I have huge respect for their work, their principles and their uncompromising passion for design,” Willer says of her new role.

The addition of Willer marks another step in Pentagram’s recent diversification. In years gone by, Paula Scher would be the only female figure posing in the partners’ annual team photograph. Lisa Strausfeld joined in 2002 but revealed earlier this year that she was to leave. However, as well as Willer, the Pentagram New York office recently announced that Emily Oberman will also be joining as a partner in April. In 2010, Eddie Opara became the firm’s first non-white partner in New York while Naresh Ramchandani joined the London office later that same year.

Pentagram insists that it is not consciously attempting to diversify in its choice of partners and maintains that all the new joiners are there strictly on merit and for no other reason. Nevertheless, it is gratifying to see the firm continue to move away from its previous homogeneity, hopefully encouraging female and non-white young designers in the process.

A full profile piece on Marina Willer will appear in the April issue of CR.



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