Edie Cohen -- Interior Design, 5/1/2003 12:00:00 AM
The soul of any sound studio is its recording capabilities. When Eleven Sound, which produces commercial soundtracks for clients such as Nissan and Gatorade, acquired a 5,000-square-foot space in Santa Monica, California, two state-of-the-art recording studios were program essentials. Eleven Sound knew that Beckson Design Associates, with 10 such projects to its credit, would get the mix right.
To maximize the budget of $525,000, BDA turned to the room-within-a-room concept, with no walls touching. "Sound doesn't transfer from anywhere," explains Steven Heisler, BDA's director of design. A pair of 800-square-foot recording studios flank a machine room. All three are marked by a proliferation of angles, inside and out. "None of the surfaces are parallel, so the sound bounces off and is diffused," says Heisler.
For further sound insulation, the rooms' double-thick drywall partitions sandwich acoustical fiberglass. Fabric-wrapped panels pad walls and ceiling; soffits are packed with more sound-absorbing materials. And because fluorescent fixtures emit a barely perceptible hum, Heisler specified 100 percent incandescents.
In each studio, producers work at a custom table and mixing-board console, both maple. At the back, clients can observe from seating areas furnished with inherited cotton-covered sofas and walnut stools by Charles and Ray Eames.
Producing a commercial soundtrack is typically a day-into-night endeavor, so employees and clients need a low-key, low-tech antidote to the studio. Heisler's response took the form of a combined reception area, kitchen, and lounge. The reception desk features panels of stained birch in an aluminum frame. Ron Arad's Tom Vac chairs define the kitchen. Lounge furniture is a mix. "If all the chairs match, you don't feel like kicking back," says Heisler. Eero Saarinen's Womb chair, a leather-covered Eames lounge chair, and three European imports surround Mark Müller's Max coffee table. Tom Dixon's Starlight pendants and a Jozeph Forakis Havana floor lamp strike just the right note: mellow.