Vincent Amaury van Haaff—renowned acoustician, studio designer and principal of Los Angeles–based firm Waterland Design LLC—passed away on Monday, May 23, 2016. Waterland’s design projects include such landmark facilities as Conway Recording Studios (Los Angeles), Capitol Studios (Hollywood), A&M Studios (Hollywood), The Village (Los Angeles), Sony Music Studios (New York City), Sony Music Studios (Santa Monica), Woodstock Studio Karuizawa (Japan), and Burnish Stone Studio (Tokyo, Japan).
Van Haaff’s work has appeared within the pages of Mix magazine in numerous issues, often featured among the studios profiled in Mix’s annual June issue “Class Of” cover feature. Van Haaff was a nine-time TEC Award nominee, from 1985 to 1997, and won a 2007 TEC Award for Studio Design Project for Record Plant in Los Angeles.
Jeff Greenberg, head of the Village recording studios, hosted a memorial tribute to van Haaff in mid-June, allowing the professional audio industry a chance to pay their respects and honor his legacy. “I’m absolutely crushed,” Greenberg wrote to Mix. “My dear friend. Adventurer, genius, mythological shaper of magic sound, friend and lover of beautiful women, naval architect, Dutch Boy, savior of wayward studios, photographer, historian, scientist, sailor, artist. My friend. A great shadow cast on phonies and pretenders. So long for now, Vincent. Thank you for so much. With all my love. Heaven is getting tuned.”
“Sad to have to tell you of the passing of a good friend, professional colleague and fellow studio designer for many years, Vincent (Vinny) Van Haaff,” wrote studio designer John Storyk. “We were with each other this past January on a NAMM panel and over the years have shared many an idea, conversation, beer, and more. I always had great respect for his work and even more than that, his friendship and his always-present sense of values towards studio design and design in general. He loved life and it is that love that I choose to remember. Vinny—he let me call him that—RIP.”
“Vincent was a very generous man,” says Ed Cherney, “with his time, his ideas, designs, advice and his full attention. Vincent is and will be missed.”
Many of van Haaff’s studio clients, friends and collaborators posted their remembrances on Facebook upon learning of van Haaff’s passing.
“Dear Vincent A van Haaff, my heart is broken, but I know you must be sailing your way not far from us,” wrote L.A.-based producer/engineer Rafa Sardina. “What an artist, colleague, friend you are! You encompass everything a Renaissance man is all about. You are kind, funny, considerate, opinionated, unique, and had more heart to spare than anyone I’ve met. Made you a promise less than a year ago that I hope I can fulfill one day! I know I will! Love you Vincent!”
From Skip Saylor Recording Company in the San Fernando Valley: “We are very heartbroken to learn of the passing of studio design legend Vincent Van Haaff. He was instrumental in the acoustic design of our Hollywood area studio and so many other iconic recording studios in this town... We will miss you very much, Vincent! RIP.”
The A&M Records.com Facebook page posted this: “The A&M Family is mourning the passing of Vincent Van Haaff, sound designer. A legend in L.A. for the great rooms he created. Vince was responsible for renovating A&M’s studios and keeping their sound world class.”
“Love and deep respect to the great Vincent A. van Haaff from the city of Utrecht,” wrote musician/producer Michael Beinhorn. “This world is a little less bright today without you in it. Godspeed, mijn vriend.”