FOX INTERNATIONAL IN LONDON: MISSION (ALMOST) IMPOSSIBILE!
In new urban contexts, where the post-production facilities and studios are forced to be, nowadays, it is always a challenge to make room for the “pro audio” department. Because – let’s never forget – geometry is important, indeed, fundamental. London, UK – Hammersmith, Summer 2014. Fox International Channels UK moves a few blocks. And, in the new building, built and designed for high-end representative offices, those offices are located on the third floor.
The space, dedicated to two control rooms 5.1 ITU-compliant with shared vocal booth and an Avid editing room with mixing duties 5.1 ITU-compliant, is, all together, a bit more than 40 square meters, naturally arranged lengthwise, against the load-bearing structures inside the building, which house the elevators.
The brief is challenging: limited space, “gained” on the edge of a fairly busy open space, a need for almost absolute acoustic isolation, considering that high-pressure sound mixing and voice recording will take place there; moreover, the space only allows you to move along one side, so the ideal geometry for the mixing rooms simply does not exist (the infamous 2/3 ratio).
HOW TO DO IT, THEN?
We invented the binoculars 🙂 to turn lemons into lemonade and we thus “slipped in”, into just over 20 square meters, two control rooms 5.1 ITU-compliant with a shared vocal booth.
THE TIME AVAILABLE? TWO WEEKS
We had a very tight schedule. We had less than two weeks to build all the rooms, starting with the empty box. So, we invented the studio, in a box. 🙂The structures and the joinery (baseboards, diffusors, frames) were custom-made in our laboratory, in Italy. We pre-assembled it and verified every detail. Then we optimized the packaging for transport by producing custom wooden crates.
We arrived at the construction site with our own truck from Italy on January 2nd: with one transport we brought to London all the equipment needed, in addition to all the construction materials, polyester fiber included. Everything was already produced and pre-finished in Italy: doors, including a sliding door (with elevate acoustics performance), visuals and consoles.
The rest of the plan was already almost completed, fittings, furnishings, parquet – we worked “dexterising” the environment to protect it from any accidental damage.
In this case, we were asked to provide the loudspeakers for all three control rooms – the choice fell on Genelec.
Considering the spaces, the consoles are custom too – we had to design some sound-absorbing inserts for the “wings”, in contrast to our first physiological reflections, due to the shape of the mixing rooms.
The wiring to be put into the acoustic treatment was so great that the assembly of the corrugated pipes, meant to accommodate it, required more than a work manual of … Simplification. 🙂
FINALLY, WE MADE IT!
We have fully achieved the goal. The Fox studios in London were happily operational in good time.