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INTERVIEW WITH: Simon Berg, Director of anySCALE Architecture in Shanghai | Universal Music Publishing Group Offices

Delhom Acoustics worked with anySCALE Architecture on the new Universal Music Publishing Group Studios (UMPG) in Shanghai, helping transform a former factory building into a state-of-the-art music recording venue. We asked Director Simon Berg about the challenges of working with old buildings and the importance of incorporating acoustics into the design.

Could you tell us about your mission at anySCALE Architecture Design?

As the Director of anySCALE in Shanghai, I manage a team of 15 talented designers from different professional and cultural backgrounds. For each project we work in small groups, and I am responsible for overseeing the design process, involved from beginning to end.

What were anySCALE’s interior design intentions for UMPG Shanghai’s offices?

When we design for corporate clients, it is important that the client sees their business and culture represented within the space. Music is at the heart of UMPG’s business, so our mission was to create a space that is perfect for music production.

We wanted the space to convey a sense of “live music”, like when music is played in a venue such as a rehearsal room in a basement, a garage venue, or a live house in an old factory building. The space needed to be inspiring and creative, with a certain rawness to leave room for individualization.

What was the biggest design challenge you faced in this project, and how did you overcome it?

The building was originally a factory’s power station, and it was old with dark interiors and in rather poor condition. The inner slabs were wooden constructions with beams and wooden blanks, which were very poor preconditions in terms of acoustic comfort.

Four songwriting rooms were to be located on the second floor above the office space. These spaces’ main function revolves around music and voice recording, which consequently needed to be turned into acoustic environments that met the highest industry standards. We had to find a way to isolate them from the space underneath to avoid sound transmission.

By working with your team for several years we know that creating unique designs is part of anySCALE’s motto. What makes UMPG’s offices unique?

Each of our projects is unique because we always develop it from scratch based on the design brief and the given site condition.

For the UMPG office, we created a space which is a blend of the existing former factory and the new, built-in functions. We played with revealing the layers of the past and adding new features, and the result could only work for this particular client in this exact location. That’s what makes it unique and tailor-made!

When did you realize that having acoustic engineers on-board would help you out on the UMPG project?

Acoustic engineers and their knowledge were essential when it came to building the voice recording rooms on the second floor. This was clear from the very beginning, so we worked together from the early design stage.

In terms of materials, was there a “main protagonist” for UMPG’s offices? Did Delhom Acoustics play a role in its selection?

We used a couple of soft materials that have great acoustic performance such as felt board and wood fiber boards on the second floor. The decision to use these materials was design-driven, as we wanted to create a strong contrast between the roughly textured existing brick and the metal to soften the space. Delhom helped us use these materials in a way that would maximize their acoustic performance.

One of the biggest challenges we face as acousticians is that sometimes architects & interior designers fear that acoustics will impact the interior design intentions. Do you think this is a real issue for interior designers and architects?

It can only be beneficial to the designers and project owners to build a space with good acoustic comfort. If the acoustic designer is involved from an early stage and the designer has a clear picture about what he would like to achieve, there is no need to worry about any negative impact on the design.

Overall, how was your experience working with the Delhom Team? Would you recommend our engineering services to others?

We’ve worked with the Delhom team on a number of projects. We have good communication with each other, and we like how our collaboration has helped acoustics to become an essential part of our services.

Do you have similar projects or are encountering noise issues? Get in touch with our team at: