Text description provided by the architects. alma-nac has repurposed a light industrial warehouse in Southwark into a complex of state- of-the-art professional music studios for The Axis, a new enterprise specialising in the provision of writing and production spaces for music professionals.
The Axis on Ormside is the first facility created by The Axis, a London-based enterprise with ambitions to create a national network of facilities. It plugs a gap in London’s world-leading music industry by providing acoustically-designed songwriting and production studios and client-facing facilities in a city suffering a rapid loss of creative production spaces.
South Bermondsey is a prime location for the new venture: its post-industrial landscape has attracted a community of creatives drawn to its lower rents and open-plan loft spaces. Music production house Atomic Studios, which has recording facilities, is within walking distance on Ilderton Road.
Providing the options of long-term tenancy and flexible, day-rate membership, the 24/7 hub will be a space where users settle in and create in comfort anytime, day or night. The studios are being marketed to musicians who have earned a reputation in the industry and need a more professional space to work from and collaborate with others. Residents will benefit from being part of a wider community of notable creatives.
The Axis on Ormside occupies a two-storey brick warehouse on a former industrial estate, which has been vacant for some time. The warehouse has been converted into a complex of ten soundproofed studios arranged along an internal street. The smaller first floor comprises a green room – an open-plan communal space for client-facing meetings, networking, socialising and relaxing – and a space to accommodate music management personnel joining songwriting sessions. A small reception desk is located on the ground floor for managing daily access; longer term tenants will have keyless access using a mobile app.
Reflecting a craft aesthetic inspired by Enzo Mari’s Autoprogettazione low-tech approach, the studios are formed from utilitarian, low-cost materials simply crafted to create an inspiring and unique environment. The ‘street-facing’ side of the studios is fabricated from CNC-routed plywood cut in such a way that there is zero waste. The green room is furnished with reclaimed and upscaled furniture.
New transparent panels in the roof bring daylight into the internal street, and the roof trusses are lit at night to create an atmosphere of a street inside. Gillieron Scott Acoustic Design has ensured the studios are structurally isolated to maximise sound insulation between spaces and control the break-in of external noise. As a result, internal noise levels will always be suitably low for songwriting, regardless of others working concurrently. The internal finishes of each studio have been designed to control reverberation to industry standards, delivering a high-quality listening environment and creating a sense of privacy and enclosure, and the impression of being removed from the outside world.
The colour scheme of bright contrasting hues applied in tessellating patterns is informed by the company’s branding, which was developed by Joana Pereira. A dark teal datum is applied internally along the street, with electric orange trusses in the roof. The teal is also applied to the font elevation, which provides wayfinding and announces The Axis to the wider neighbourhood.