Treading the boards at Sonos Studio, a brand new social arts space in Shoreditch, feels like stepping into history.
That’s because the reclaimed timber lining the ground floor is from Bush House, former home of the BBC World Service. Along with lighting inspired by Abbey Road Studios, it’s a nod to London’s sonic heritage.
Additional features such as acoustically engineered curtains, rotating louvres, and adaptable ceiling rafts have helped transform the bowels of the building – formerly the kitchens of a catering company to the Royal family – into a ‘fully tuneable space’ that will host events and performances, while also doubling as a cafe/workspace and art gallery open to all.
It’s the ideal place to appreciate the home audio company’s products according to Sonos Studio London director Tom Panton.
‘Everything Sonos does ties back to the home in some way, so the studio was designed to feel domestic in scale, albeit quite a large open plan house,’ says Panton. ‘It feels liveable.’
Climb the staircase, decorated with photography referencing the local area, and you are greeted on the second floor by a bustling workshop space and cosy lounge area, as well as two private listening rooms. It’s at once both intimate and a welcoming public space.
‘It’s not just about the materials,’ continues Panton. ‘It’s also about who you’re with. It’s a picture of experience.’
For architects Brinkworth, the toughest aspect of their ‘dream project’ was holding back and interpreting what was a hugely open brief, not to mention making a stark, unheated industrial space habitable.
‘The building as a vessel was the main challenge, as well as taking into account the needs of residents in terms of noise,’ says designer Luke Ward. ‘It’s not a gallery as such or a showroom. It has an open-door policy and the design reflects that. It’s not high-end. It feels like it’s been there for a while.’
For this collaborative project, Sonos and Brinkworth also enlisted the assistance of producer Giles Martin and Miloco Studios to fine-tune their acoustic offering.
In all, the build took close to six months. The opening weekend (26-27 September) sees performances from the London Contemporary Orchestra and sound workshops with artist Yuri Suzuki, as part of London Design Festival.