Music By Design

Music By Design

By Sara Carpenter
Last night the Red Bull Music Academy opened the doors of their new home in New York to a diverse crowd ranging from skateboard toting music lovers to architect Steven Holl. As if the allure of 38,000 square feet of state-of the art digs by Jeffrey Inaba and INABA wasn’t enough, Kairos, an exhibition of NY-based artists curated by Ken Farmer of Nuit Blanche was displayed throughout the space. Housing a lecture room, performance lounge, ‘living’ room and studios-a-plenty, the four-floor Chelsea location was recently completed, just in time for the Academy’s New York arrival.

The Red Bull Music Academy is an industry-led symposium and workshop for 30 producers, deejays, and music artists selected from nearly 4,000 hopeful entries. For those not lucky enough to attend, RBMA also hosts music events throughout the city. The permanent space in New York will live on after the conference and serve as a (quite enviable) workspace for musicians and designers.

Colorful mid-century style furnishings outfit the Red Bull Music Academy. © Greg Irikura 2013.

We were lucky enough to join Inaba on a personal tour of the lower floors (smaller work studios live on the 7th and 8th floors), along with Holl – quite the treat, as any questions we might have asked were preemptively answered by an engaging dialogue between the architects. (When the two aren’t designing buildings, they are both busy teaching at Columbia University.) The unique space was thoughtfully designed to encourage creative collaboration. Views outdoors and natural light were a crucial part of the development of the plan for each floor. This dictated a V-shaped layout on the ground floor, making for an expansive and welcoming lobby. Upstairs, in the work-pod/studios, an abundance of glass walls encourage open collaboration between semi-private work areas.

The use of color continues in the monochromatic bathrooms. © Greg Irikura 2013

The space is open to the public today and tomorrow from 9am to 5pm. If the lure of a beautifully designed recording studio isn’t enough, the artwork of Olympia Scarry, Dylan Lynch, Chen Chen + Kai Williams, Michael Bell-Smith, Lizzi Bougatsos and others will be on display throughout the space, located at 218 W 18th Street in Chelsea.

The yellow hall gives a bolt of energy as you head into to the lecture hall. © Greg Irikura 2013.

Click through for images of the state-of-the-art space, along with some details we took away from our tour.

Of his design, Inaba says “It's about filtering out some of the visual noise of the city, if you will, so the spot light is cast on the ideas, music, video and art.” Here, the lecture hall. © Greg Irikura 2013.

Each work pod/studio contains the work of one or two artists featured in Kairos. Many of the pieces are interactive to encourage creative stimulation in the workspaces. © Greg Irikura 2013.

The master studio and session rooms occupy the space of the building’s former basement loading dock. The tall ceilings this area offered are ideal for the recording environment. A 10 to 15 inch concrete slab was poured to buffer sound and movement from the nearby 1,2,3 line. © Greg Irikura 2013.

The design and construction process for the project overlapped to ensure the space would be completed in time for this year’s Red Bull Music Academy. Separate crews were enlisted to work on each level. Pictured here, a glimpse of the performance space (also prone to impromptu dance parties). © Greg Irikura 2013.

Artist Tamara Gonzalez added to the rock n’ roll vibe of a recording studio. Tamara Gonzalez, I Like Your Room. Did a Pole Come With It?, 2013. Courtesy of the artist and The Red Bull Music Academy

Martin Roth explored the effect of noise on plant life via the bonsai seen here and an arrangement of sound from wildlife in a network of aquariums. Martin Roth, Untitled (Bonsai), 2013. Courtesy of the artist and The Red Bull Music Academy.

For her work, Carly Mark will slowly be tearing away at one of the working studio’s walls. Carly Mark, Untitled, 2013. Courtesy of the artist and The Red Bull Music Academy.


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