Touring Sony Music UK’s New King’s Cross Office In London

London’s audio scene has improved its tune in the past 10 years, with the action shifting east to King’s Cross. This left Sony Songs British isles in a tricky location when the company normally beloved the Kensington place of work that MoreySmith had designed for it back again in 2008 (and then later refreshed in 2018), it eventually recognized that it needed to get started organizing for a relocation. “If they could have picked up their authentic office environment and moved it, that would have been their great alternative,” suggests Linda Morey-Burrows, the principal director at MoreySmith. But as the pandemic ushered in new operating products, her firm’s design and style for Sony New music UK’s new King’s Cross headquarters progressed into an even even bigger rethink.

The communal cafeteria area at the new Sony Music UK headquarters in King's Cross designed by MoreySmith.

Picture by Billy Bolton.

Like all the most effective sophomore albums, the finish result (which opened this calendar year in a new creating at 2 Canal Arrive at) experiments with fresh new thoughts whilst creating upon the main appeal of its predecessor. Any individual common with Sony Tunes UK’s previous digs will no doubt figure out the new office’s cafeteria, which is a reimagining of a equivalent space that sat at the coronary heart of the company’s previous place. “When you transfer properties, you really don’t want to thoroughly start out yet again,” suggests Morey-Burrows. “You require a several items that you loved in the aged household to be in the new a single. Usually it appears to be like you’ve lost your temperament along the way.”

A social seating area at the new Sony Music UK headquarters in King's Cross designed by MoreySmith.

Photograph by Billy Bolton.

Photo by Fiona Smallshaw.

Greater modifications enjoy out in the office’s workspace configuration, which was educated by employees interviews but also on-the-ground observations. “We hired a team to go to their present workplace in Kensington and check out persons for 10 days, just to get insights into what they ended up basically executing,” points out Shonagh Gardiner, a senior affiliate at MoreySmith. “Sometimes individuals say that they are normally at a desk, but then you see that’s not actually the circumstance — they are operating on artistic items that come about a lot more collaboratively. Possessing that knowledge authorized us to back up some new proposals. And then COVID transpired, and every person lost their desks anyway.”

Image by Billy Bolton.

In the stop, doing the job preparations were made the decision on a for every-label foundation, with some of Sony’s manufacturers — which contain RCA, Ministry of Seem and Columbia — preserving a a person-to-one particular ratio of personnel to desks, and others eager to embrace additional lounge-like environments with sofas and laptop tables. 

The reception area for Columbia Records with a grooved concrete wall at the new Sony Music UK headquarters in King's Cross designed by MoreySmith.

Photo by Billy Bolton.

This reflects MoreySmith’s all round solution to working with the many divisions and departments that slide below the Sony Music umbrella. “It was basically one challenge with 25 customers,” claims Gardiner. “And we seriously desired to make sure that all of the groups felt represented in the new developing.”

The design and style agency determined to divide and conquer, assigning different personnel to various labels to assure visible instructions that reflected their distinctive identities. As a outcome, Columbia’s zone is clad in grooved concrete, although RCA’s is described by an orange corrugated metal. “It’s almost like a office retail outlet, where you’re instantly knowledgeable that you are in a various brand’s space simply because of a unique visual practical experience,” Gardiner suggests.

Photograph by Billy Bolton.

Picture by Fiona Smallshaw.

The challenge then turned making sure that these a variety of zones continue to felt like portion of a cohesive entire. Certainly, although the branding of just about every room is distinctive, the general design stays adaptable ample to aid long run changes if labels stop up increasing or contracting. “Architecturally, they’re all constructed fairly equally. How they’re wrapped, dressed and lit, that’s where by the distinctions are — in the cladding or graphics,” claims Morey-Burrows.

A red staircase spanning multiple floors in an open atrium at the new Sony Music UK headquarters in King's Cross designed by MoreySmith.

Photograph by Fiona Smallshaw.

Image by Hufton+Crow.

MoreySmith invested similar strength in acquiring ways to bring workers jointly in the course of the workday. Sony New music UK’s outdated headquarters (which, funnily enough, was positioned in a previous division store creating) was unfold across only two floors, guaranteeing repeated likelihood encounters. This new place, spanning 6 flooring, needed a far more intentional circulation tactic to advertise interconnectivity.

As a consequence, two well known staircases — just one black, one particular red — were inserted into the constructing in bright, open areas that make visual hyperlinks to spots that personnel might not otherwise move by. A communal rooftop and dwell effectiveness location are other preferred social hotspots, both for employees and for guests.

Image by Billy Bolton.

Of study course, Sony Audio UK’s a variety of labels also have an additional essential ingredient in popular: amazing acoustics. “Obviously, music is vital,” suggests Morey-Burrows. Nevertheless accomplishing the wished-for audio quality necessary some savvy layout interventions. “The way the setting up was built, there was not any acoustic lining in the exterior wall. So we were concerned that we were being heading to be spilling out loud audio into King’s Cross, where by all of the structures are quite near with each other,” Morey-Burrows describes.

To definitely make sure that the areas do Sony Music’s albums justice, MoreySmith partnered with acoustics guide Sandy Brown and the A/V group at Combine. The crew included a secondary glazing to generate a comfy sonic buffer involving the making and its neighbours, and then wrapped a lot of of the studios in their possess dedicated acoustic enclosure. Soundproof pods introduce yet another location for personal listening.

A café area at the new Sony Music UK headquarters in King's Cross designed by MoreySmith.

Photo by Billy Bolton.

Picture by Fiona Smallshaw.

Rather unexpectedly, the remaining part of MoreySmith’s design and style is a peaceful library area. “The café is a excellent space to operate if you want to get absent from your personal office, but they adore obtaining audio playing very loud there,” Morey-Burrows points out. “And some folks in our interviews explained, although they like that place, they just can’t operate in it. So we preferred to give them a tranquil location that is sort of a diverse vibe from the relaxation of the building.” Like a sensitive ballad in an album complete of bangers, the library reiterates the art of a nicely-crafted blend.

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