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Sonos Studio London: The Building is the Sound System

From the ground up, Sonos Studio London is a singular space designed to elevate the experience of listening to music as an art form of its own. Nestled in London’s now hip inner city district of Shoreditch, the building-as-sound-system, is an old brick structure which originally began as a printworks.

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Inside and out, the industrial ancestry is preserved, while sound engineering delivers a main listening room with an acoustically tunable modular ceiling, and a second-floor workshop area, and two more intimate listening spaces. Furnishings and a curated collection of art that speaks to sound history complete the audio-immersive environment. At a little over three minutes, The Making of Sonos Studio London video covers the high points – for design fans, here’s more of the story design, art and technology behind this meticulously executed project…

Design: The intention to create a superb listening space that is also a meeting spot and workshop, is embodied first in the light-filled, airy approach to maintaining the building’s industrial framework, with sandblasting and whitewash highlights the original Crittal windows. Contemporary Euro furnishing encompass the contemporary, with the likes of Tom Dixon and Vitsoe, and mid-20th century artifacts from vintage stores like Beton Brut and Peanut Vendor, and fabrics from Denmark’s Kvadrat in acoustic curtains and lining baffles and louvres.

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Art: Created equally for community gatherings and casual drop-ins as for scheduled performances – the Studio is open during daytime hours – the interior design echoes sound history through its furnishings and a bespoke artwork collection. Historical hints, like the Abbey Road Studio’s shade of blue, and the bathroom tiling at Stax Records, blend with commissioned multimedia art accompanied by the music playlists that inspired the artists.

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Technology: The graffitied brick exterior wall is triple-skinned and lined with a foot of mineral. The entrance is designed as a sound-lock, isolating the interior from street noise and the sound of people entering and leaving. The ground floor of the two-storey structure is the main listening room, with an acoustically tunable ceiling consisting of panels that can be raised, lowered, and tilted, with surfaces that can be varied, to suit the particular performance. The flooring is timber recovered from the historic former BBC World Service studios, Upstairs, there is a workshop, and two more intimate experience and listening/ gallery spaces.

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Sonos Studio London is designed by Brinkworth, audio engineering by Miloco, art curated by Freddie Forsyth, bar/cafe operated by Magnus Reid. 21 Club Row, Shoreditch. Based in LA, Sonos is a specialist in wireless audio, a world leader in WiFi HiFi sound systems.

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