Spaceship-inspired music studio lands in Paris for French electronica star
Cult French electronica star Étienne de Crécy has tapped Paris-based architecture office Fairfax to redesign his music studio, in an old building located in a Parisian faubourg.
De Crécy is known for his distinct visual sensibilities, as well as his audial ones – most notably through his 3D music videos (often designed in collaboration with his filmmaker brother Geoffroy de Crécy) and wild stage sets. It’s no wonder then, that De Crécy’s workspace is a riot of colour and a catalogue of references.
‘This is a place where Etienne works all day long, mixing sounds and making new tracks,’ explains architect Caroline Desroche, founder of Fairfax. ‘As a reference, he sent us an image of a spaceship cockpit, describing a “great space with wide panels, spot lights everywhere”. So we told him “we will make you a spaceship!”’
Located on a narrow, unassuming street, the typical Haussmannian-style building was built in the 1840s, and currently serves as a mixed-used space, with a stone façade and a large paved courtyard. De Crécy’s (well sound-proofed) studio is on the ground floor, hidden among ateliers and offices.
The architects were given what they describe as ‘an acoustical box’ in which to build their ‘cockpit’, isolated from the main building structure with multiple layers of plasterboard. Desroche inserted a series of plywood structures within the box, spaced out to fit record shelves between. Coloured felt panels wrap around the space at gradiated intervals, disguising layers of absorptive material beneath, which bolster the well-balanced acoustics.
A vanishing point offers a much deeper sense of space, while the adjoining lounge area, with in-built furniture, is open to the courtyard. Swathes of plywood cover the floor and the millwork, creating a counterpart to the bold walls.
Fairfax has plenty of experience when it comes to designing spaces to make music magic. ‘We worked on the design of the rehearsal and recording rooms of the Copenhagen Concert hall [DR Koncerthuset] for Jean Nouvel,’ Desroche explains. ‘And while working in Los Angeles for Frank Gehry on the Foundation Louis Vuitton, we worked on the design of the glass auditorium.’ Back in Paris, the studio also spent four years on the construction site on the Philharmonie de Paris – a huge music complex with seven rehearsal rooms and a music school including 16 music rooms.
Despite the relatively small scale of this project – which stretches just 60 sq m – Fairfax brought its acute knowledge of this kind of work; and, when added to De Crecy’s off-beat vision – the result turns up the volume. §