December 9, 2023

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

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

London’s music scene has improved its tune in the previous decade, with the motion shifting east to King’s Cross. This left Sony Tunes British isles in a difficult spot though the business or else loved the Kensington workplace that MoreySmith experienced created for it again in 2008 (and then afterwards refreshed in 2018), it sooner or later recognized that it essential to start off preparing for a relocation. “If they could have picked up their primary workplace and moved it, that would have been their suitable answer,” claims Linda Morey-Burrows, the principal director at MoreySmith. But as the pandemic ushered in new functioning types, her firm’s design for Sony Music UK’s new King’s Cross headquarters developed into an even greater rethink.

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

Photo by Billy Bolton.

Like all the most effective sophomore albums, the conclude result (which opened this yr in a new building at 2 Canal Arrive at) experiments with refreshing tips while setting up upon the core attractiveness of its predecessor. Any one common with Sony Music UK’s outdated digs will no question recognize the new office’s cafeteria, which is a reimagining of a related house that sat at the heart of the company’s former place. “When you move residences, you really don’t want to absolutely start once more,” claims Morey-Burrows. “You have to have a several things that you loved in the outdated house to be in the new 1. Or else it appears like you have missing your character alongside the way.”

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

Image by Billy Bolton.

Picture by Fiona Smallshaw.

Even bigger alterations enjoy out in the office’s workspace configuration, which was informed by workers interviews but also on-the-ground observations. “We employed a staff to go to their present office in Kensington and observe people today for 10 times, just to get insights into what they were being actually executing,” points out Shonagh Gardiner, a senior affiliate at MoreySmith. “Sometimes individuals say that they’re often at a desk, but then you see that is not definitely the circumstance — they’re performing on resourceful factors that take place additional collaboratively. Acquiring that facts permitted us to again up some new proposals. And then COVID took place, and all people missing their desks in any case.”

Photo by Billy Bolton.

In the conclusion, doing work arrangements have been determined on a per-label foundation, with some of Sony’s makes — which incorporate RCA, Ministry of Sound and Columbia — retaining a 1-to-one ratio of employees to desks, and others eager to embrace far more lounge-like environments with sofas and laptop computer 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.

Picture by Billy Bolton.

This displays MoreySmith’s general strategy to doing the job with the numerous divisions and departments that fall underneath the Sony Music umbrella. “It was effectively one particular project with 25 clientele,” states Gardiner. “And we seriously wished to make absolutely sure that all of the teams felt represented in the new constructing.”

The layout business decided to divide and conquer, assigning different employees to distinctive labels to assure visible instructions that mirrored their distinctive identities. As a final result, Columbia’s zone is clad in grooved concrete, whilst RCA’s is defined by an orange corrugated metal. “It’s just about like a department retail store, wherever you are instantaneously knowledgeable that you’re in a diverse brand’s area simply because of a unique visual practical experience,” Gardiner suggests.

Photograph by Billy Bolton.

Picture by Fiona Smallshaw.

The problem then turned guaranteeing that these numerous zones even now felt like portion of a cohesive entire. Indeed, whilst the branding of every single space is distinctive, the general layout continues to be adaptable sufficient to support future changes if labels close up growing or contracting. “Architecturally, they’re all built really in the same way. How they are wrapped, dressed and lit, which is exactly where the variations are — in the cladding or graphics,” states 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.

Image by Fiona Smallshaw.

Image by Hufton+Crow.

MoreySmith invested comparable energy in producing approaches to bring staff members with each other in the course of the workday. Sony Tunes UK’s outdated headquarters (which, funnily plenty of, was located in a former division retail outlet setting up) was unfold across only two flooring, guaranteeing recurrent prospect encounters. This new location, spanning six floors, expected a much more intentional circulation method to boost interconnectivity.

As a outcome, two well known staircases — just one black, a person red — were inserted into the developing in dazzling, open areas that build visible backlinks to parts that workers could possibly not otherwise go by. A communal rooftop and dwell functionality location are other common social hotspots, both for personnel and for site visitors.

Picture by Billy Bolton.

Of course, Sony Music UK’s numerous labels also have a further vital component in popular: extraordinary acoustics. “Obviously, songs is crucial,” claims Morey-Burrows. However acquiring the desired seem quality necessary some savvy design and style interventions. “The way the creating was built, there was not any acoustic lining in the external wall. So we were worried that we have been likely to be spilling out loud music into King’s Cross, wherever all of the properties are pretty shut with each other,” Morey-Burrows explains.

To actually be certain that the areas do Sony Music’s albums justice, MoreySmith partnered with acoustics specialist Sandy Brown and the A/V workforce at Combine. The crew included a secondary glazing to produce a comfy sonic buffer among the setting up and its neighbours, and then wrapped quite a few of the studios in their have dedicated acoustic enclosure. Soundproof pods introduce one more vacation spot for specific listening.

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

Picture by Billy Bolton.

Photograph by Fiona Smallshaw.

Considerably unexpectedly, the closing element of MoreySmith’s design and style is a silent library region. “The café is a superior space to perform if you want to get absent from your individual department, but they adore obtaining songs taking part in quite loud there,” Morey-Burrows describes. “And some men and women in our interviews mentioned, whilst they love that house, they just just can’t work in it. So we desired to give them a serene spot which is type of a distinct vibe from the relaxation of the developing.” Like a sensitive ballad in an album complete of bangers, the library reiterates the art of a effectively-crafted mix.