Studio design consultancy White Mark played a key part in the design and acoustic treatment of ENVY Advertising’s new facility, which recently opened in London’s Mortimer Street.
One of the UK’s leading post production companies, the ENVY Group opted to move its entire Shortform and Advertising department to the new building so that its burgeoning commercial arm could be accommodated under one roof. Spread across six storeys – and with a seventh floor currently being added – ENVY’s new Mortimer Street facility houses 32 suites covering everything from offline to VFX. There are also meeting and production rooms, sound mixing facilities and a ground floor bar where clients and staff can relax.
ENVY’s Facility Director, Natascha Cadle, steered the project from start to finish. She was also responsible for the interior design and her vision has resulted in a cosy industrial space with a comfortable, ‘non-office’ feel that encourages creativity.
White Mark has worked with ENVY on many occasions in the past and was commissioned to develop layouts and wall construction types for all spaces within the building. Special emphasis was placed on the design of the sound mixing facilities, which include a 5.1 surround sound studio, a stereo voice recording suite and a Dolby Atmos Premix Studio – a first for ENVY and one that allows the company to mix projects into Dolby Atmos for the home or premix projects ready for Dolby Atmos in the cinema.
“With this new suite, we can place 128 different sound objects anywhere in a three-dimensional space with pinpoint accuracy. That puts you right inside the action, with nothing short of breath-taking results,” says ENVY’s Senior Dubbing Mixer, Arge. “Our clients have been absolutely blown away when we’ve taken their pre-existing cinema or TV ads and remixed them into Dolby Atmos. Their faces light up as we immerse them in the ultimate sound experience from our custom 9.1.4 Exigy sound system.”
As interior designer, Natascha Cadle worked closely with White Mark’s manging director David Bell to ensure that the audio facilities not only looked great but also sounded amazing.
“It was a question of seeing what was possible and what wasn’t with the space we had to play with,” Natascha Cadle says, while David Bell adds that – both aesthetically and acoustically – he’s delighted with the result.
“We were asked to design sound studios that featured our usual neutral acoustics in the booths and control rooms,” he explains. “The two big studios are the same size and in both cases the control rooms can accommodate a large seated number of clients. All three rooms have natural monitoring conditions and the same acoustic feel so that work can be easily transferred between each room, and between other rooms that we have designed in other ENVY Group buildings. We also provided space planning and acoustic performance standards for all other area in the building.”
In terms of physical challenges posed by the building, the main issues White Mark faced were the limited height of the basement and the angular separation in the vertical plane required by the Atmos specification.
“Fortunately we had plenty of experience of buildings like this thanks to the many projects we’ve completed in Soho over the years, so these problems were far from unique,” Bell says. “Our history of working closely with mechanical systems designers from the outset of a project has allowed us to develop methods of maximising the height of rooms and accommodating air conditioning plant and ducts over common parts, whilst maintaining the high isolation requirements when nesting facilities close to one another and supporting the high sound levels that can occur in Atmos rooms. We are very happy with the performance and “feel” of the finished suites and, more importantly, so are ENVY!”
The addition of the Mortimer Street facility to ENVY’s portfolio means that the company now has six building in the NoHo area of London and can offer over 200 operational areas including Off Line Editing, FCP, Symphony, Baselight Grading, Flame, 3D and Audio including Dolby Atmos. White Mark was involved in the design of all six buildings. Since moving, ENVY Advertising has completed projects for clients such as 4Creative, Anomoly, DBLG and WCRS, while its Atmos room has been put through its paces mixing the audio for new SKY cinema idents.
About White Mark:
Established in 1997 by David Bell, John Dunnill, Derek Buckingham and Alan Cundell, White Mark Ltd specialises in production facilities for music recording and the film and television industries. Over the last 20 years it has designed and supervised the construction of over 500 production suites worldwide. The company’s impressive client list encompasses some of the world’s most famous music recording facilities including Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in the UK, Germano Studios in New York, Hit Factory/Criteria Recording Studios in Miami, Strongroom in London and private studios for producers and musicians such as William Orbit and Damon Albarn. In the audio post production arena, White Mark has completed over 140 audio studios and many broadcast and video editing facilities for more than 60 companies in Soho alone. The list of clients includes Grand Central, Hackenbacker, Envy, De Lane Lea, Scramble, Lipsync, Molinare, DeLuxe, 750mph, NBC/Universal, Wave, Unit and Boom. Advertising agency clients include worldwide facilities for Hogarth International and AMV/BBDO on four continents.