The biggest investment most studios make is in bricks and mortar... and plasterboard... and Rockwool. But is there another way?
Most studio builds use conventional construction techniques. External walls are made of masonry, or whatever is usual for the area. Internal walls are built from wood studwork faced with plasterboard to construct a ‘room within a room’. This approach is infinitely customisable, materials are universally available, and the methods are tried and tested.
However, a conventional build has its downsides. It involves finding and coordinating skilled workers in different fields, who may need to be educated about the special circumstances that apply to studio projects. The slightest mistake can dramatically compromise the performance of a room. And unless you employ an expensive studio architect to oversee the build, you’ll have no guarantee that the results will actually meet your desired goals, nor any comeback if they don’t.
Above all, though, traditional builds are slow and messy. The building phase can eat up months or even years, during which you may be paying rent on your space without being able to make music or earn any income. And if you later need to move to another building, time and money you have poured into the fabric of the studio must be written off as a dead loss.
But is there an alternative? Well, perhaps. What if you could spend a similar sum having your room prefabricated off‑site by a company who specialise only in studio builds; who promise to install it in a matter of days; who say they can take care of everything from air‑conditioning to acoustic treatment; and who guarantee specific levels of sound isolation and a benign acoustic environment? These are some of the promises made for the Boxy System. To find out more about it, I travelled to Milan to view some showcase installations and meet company representatives.
The Boxy System is the brainchild of Claudio Lamberini, an Italian acoustician, metalsmith and polymath with a skill set that is probably unique. He had the idea of creating a modular format that could be adapted to almost any space, whilst retaining consistently high levels of isolation, and has filed a number of patents relating to his designs. Claudio then teamed up with Boxy’s General Manager Lorenz Koch to develop these innovations into a commercially viable business.