Each of the above cases requires cohesion among the project manager (engineer, owner), architect, landlord, contractor and the furniture designer. Managing this team well will make for a successful project.
Being asked to design and build hundreds of studios a year has led us to a relatively straightforward, detailed and efficient process in the design of a studio or space. These questions or talking points come into play regardless of the scope of the project or size of the budget.
1. Do you have a drawing? Furniture design is about marrying function with space. It all starts with a drawing or floor plan; from a sketch on a napkin to CAD of the building - they all work and provide the canvas for what follows.
2.What is the function of the room or rooms? On-air, production, talk, or a hybrid/combination - the function of a space will often drive the layout of the furniture. So too, will the way a suite of rooms work together.
3. How many people will be in the room and how do they relate to one another? As computers continue to get more powerful, the impact of equipment upon furniture size diminishes. Unfortunately though - people seem to be getting larger, therefore - the number of people and how they interact in a studio tends to be a significant determinant of the size of the furniture.
4. What does each person have in front of him? Console, monitors, keyboards, paper, etc. all must be factored into a considered layout.
5. Where are power and data coming from? Access points for wire entry will often be a constraint upon furniture design. Naturally, from anywhere under the floor is the preferred answer, but more often than not, this is not the case.
6. If there's a console, how big is it, and does it penetrate the countertop? The console is many times the focal point. Its size and construction will drive placement, proportion and wire runs.
7. Is this studio sit-down or stand-up? Our standards are a countertop height of 29.5" and 36" respectively. We've built everything in between and up to about 44".
8. How many equipment racks and how much storage space is required below counter? With an average of 13RU per sit-down and 16RU per stand-up, rack bays can hold a considerable amount of equipment. Aside from the number of people, the amount of rack bays and the structure to carry wire is the largest contributor to size of the furniture.
9. Is there a need for any above-counter racks? These days, the trend is toward fewer and smaller (less rack space). Removing bulky turrets clears sight lines, opens counter space and simplifies wiring - if you can do without.
10. Do you have budget in mind? We have built studios for as little as a few thousand dollars to upward of $25,000. Building to budget will point to production solutions or allow for custom design. It will drive meaningful decisions about function vs. flash or simply about "putting your money where the mouth is."
Now that you know why the first thing in the room shouldn't be the last thing you think about in studio design, hopefully you will give it some forethought going forward. We're often asked how long it will take to build the furniture. In our shop construction happens quickly - it's everything else that takes the time. Production orders can be processed in a matter of weeks, but executing a custom design is a process that includes design, order and payment processing, CAD work, material sourcing, cutting, building, documentation, packaging and transit time. A simple rule of thumb - if you're thinking about a new studio, you should be talking to someone about furnishing it now.