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11 Nov 2021 by Autex Acoustics
Architect: Warren and Mahoney
Featured Products: Cube™
A feat of innovative design and out-of-the-box thinking, the Mediaworks building tells the story of radio—a medium rich in history and soul—through a brave, game-changing fitout. The Autex design team worked alongside architects Warren and Mahoney to create three bold, custom acoustic sculpture walls for the common areas, and high-performance treatment for the studios.
The Mediaworks floorplan is laid out like a cityscape—each radio brand existing within its own unique neighbourhood. Characterised by three acoustic sculpture walls, the boroughs represent various physical manifestations of sound; anechoic (mustard), noise (crimson), and beats (khaki). Upon entrance, the lobby is cocooned by the three walls, stretching from the ground floor to the first floor like pillars. Not just a feature of the reception, the façades wrap around their respective boroughs housing studios, production suites, and meeting rooms.
Silence is, in equal parts, tranquil and torturous. One person’s discomfort is another person’s solace. Silence is subjective, multi-faceted, and necessary; as a sonic dualism, noise cannot exist without silence. To accurately sculpt the absence of sound, incorporating the nuance of its extremes, the design team turned to abstract silhouettes. The result is a wall made up of ribbon-esque strips of Cube™, folded like origami to form a pattern of tessellated wedges. Drawing inspiration from the triangular shapes common in anechoic chambers, the wedges fluently capture the concept of dualism in the juxtaposition of their angular form with the warm, honeycomb palette.
Each wedge is 450 mm long, creating drama with playful shadows and distorted light. Lending itself to both aesthetic and acoustic sensibilities, the depth adds precious surface area for sound absorption. As the wedges have open sides, the measurements and arrangement needed to be exact to ensure the entire wall would be covered seamlessly, and any negative space wouldn’t reveal the framing beneath. The design team made a series of small scale models, first with cardboard, then graduating to Cube panels—developing and refining the concept until it fit the brief perfectly. Models that, due to the odd shape and precise measurements of the wedges, were eventually used as a reference for the installers.
A bold first impression
Commanding attention as you enter the reception lobby, the anechoic wall demands a moment of jaw-dropping delight. In a space that breaks so many rules, creativity and ingenuity have room to flourish. Beauty aside, the practicality of the feature shines through its namesake; with the sheer volume of acoustic treatment in the space, reverb and echo are kept to a minimum—in spite of the polished concrete floor and exposed industrial ceiling.