Mediaworks: noise sculpture wall spotlight

A feat of innovative design and out-of-the-box thinking, the Mediaworks building tells the story of radio—a medium rich in history and soul—through a brave, game-changing fitout. The Autex design team worked alongside architects Warren and Mahoney to create three bold, custom, acoustic feature walls for the common areas, and high-performance treatment for the studios.

The Mediaworks floorplan is laid out like a cityscape—each radio brand existing within their own unique borough. Characterised by the acoustic feature walls, each borough represents a physical manifestation of sound; anechoic (mustard), noise (crimson), and beats (khaki). Upon entrance the lobby is cocooned by the three walls, stretching from the ground floor to the first floor like pillars. Not just a feature of the reception, the walls wrap around their respective boroughs housing studios, production suites, and meeting rooms.

Turning sound into sculpture

Turning sound into sculpture

Resembling a 70’s shag carpet, the crimson wall visually captures the essence of noise; a discordant fuzz of acoustic energy, both deliberate and entirely unintentional. Evolving from a sharpie sketch, the feature took many forms throughout the concept and design phase. The main challenge being creating a seamless, three-dimensional, wall applicated sculpture out of 1220 mm x 2440 mm Cube panels.

With cardboard and scissors in hand, the design team made small scale models of the wall—figuring out how to cut and assemble the panels in such a way that the entire wall was covered seamlessly, and rhythm of the pattern appeared irregular. Once they had figured it out—through continual development and feedback from Warren and Mahoney—the small scale models were transformed into larger sample models made from Cube; assembled and presented in the Warren and Mahoney offices to give the architects a true feel for how they would look in the space.

Similar to a tear-off flyer, each panel was cut into thin strips, leaving a 75 mm boarder along the top and bottom. To create pattern irregularity, the strips were cut in half at different lengths, so when pulled apart one panel would become two fringed panels—achieving the randomised shag pile look without any off-cuts. As the dimensions and arrangement of the panels had been planned down to the millimetre to achieve a seamless look, the pod framing needed to meet exact measurements.

A waltz between form and function

As a dramatic, breath taking backdrop to an office space bustling with creativity, the noise wall serves as a bold reminder to think outside the square. Impressive in sheer volume, the vast surface area of acoustic material absorbs a wide range of frequencies; reducing reverb and echo in the lobby, and contributing to the STC of the pod walls—effectively controlling noise transfer between spaces. Performing a clap test in the space post-install, Warren and Mahoney were pleased with the results: noise ceasing at the hand rather than bouncing off the high industrial ceilings and polished concrete floors.