How the UK’s leading interior and furniture design consultancy for the post-production, audio and broadcast industries is keeping pace with changing technologies…
After obtaining a degree in furniture design 20 years ago, Guy Wilson started AKA Design in a small workshop in Shoreditch where, after two years of producing bespoke furniture, he designed and built his first complete studio for Strongroom, one of the UK’s leading recording studios. In the early days of studio furniture design, grading and edit suites had very dull, laboratory-like interiors—particularly in broadcast. Since then, AKA’s aim has been to deliver a more creative studio environment, using larger windows to bring in natural light and by placing an emphasis on attention to detail in the materials and finish.
As well as a bespoke design-and-build studio interiors service AKA has developed a range of off-the-shelf, flat-packed furniture, with the option of combining elements of both custom and product to suit requirements. AKA’s ready-made products have been designed to reflect the changing studio environment brought about by new audio standards and advanced technology, at lower prices and with smaller footprints. As this range is eminently suitable for worldwide delivery, AKA is actively expanding its international distributor network and has dealers as across Europe, the States, Asia and Australia.
“Our strapline has been ‘the integration of people furniture and technology’ for many years now and we are inherently linked to the changes in equipment and formats,” explains Wilson. “For instance, when 5.1 surround format came in around the 90s this dramatically changed the layout of all post-production studios, with the need to have both the editor and the clients centralised within the room.
“Whether it’s editing, grading, mixing or composing, the layout of the equipment has always been paramount in the design process and we can see AKA’s role as combining all the relevant items in a piece of furniture that is both truly functional and aesthetically pleasing.”
Flexibility is now key, as often a studio will have to facilitate more than one discipline. When putting a new suite into AMV BBDO advertising agency, for example, the brief was that it would not just be used for conventional sound-mixing, but would also need to accommodate grading, editing and a preview suite. AKA have worked very closely with companies such as Avid, Solid State Logic and Baselight when designing desks to integrate their equipment, which places far more emphasis on ergonomics and style.
One of the major projects AKA has worked on this year is the BBC’s new flagship facility at Broadcasting House in London. AKA have designed and built all of the technical furniture for the video production and news areas, including 27 edit and reporter desks, 31 graphics workstations and seven large broadcast suites. The design team has been working closely with systems integrators dB Broadcast to ensure the final product meets the exacting technical and layout requirements for this facility. AKA’s experience gained through the development of its own product range over the past seven years has enabled them to supply desks that not only fulfil the BBC’s brief, but also look stylish and meet the budget.