One of the world’s biggest media production and broadcasting companies has just opened a new centre of operations in Berlin: the colossal RTL, "leader across broadcast, content and digital, with interests in 67 television channels, ten streaming platforms and 38 radio stations".The group awarded the project to Stefan Camenzind’s Swiss studio Evolution Design, world-renowned architects whose portfolio includes major corporate projects for clients such as Google and Unilever.
The key goal of the project was rethinking radio and audio production, designing a technologically advanced complex that would be a source of motivation and inspiration for RTL’s media and creative employees as well as visitors. A centre of research, development and production perfectly representing the RTL Group’s importance in a gritty, hip, dynamic European capital, Berlin. The construction of the RTL Audio Centre Berlin also consolidates the operation of four radio stations and several media production companies in a single space. The centre totals 2,700 square metres of office space, offering cutting-edge workspaces for almost 200 employees.
Evolution Design’s interiors are designed to reflect user journeys through the space. Upon entering the building we find ourselves in a public entrance area, where a sculptural reception desk surprises visitors with its unusual shape offering insight into the workings of a radio station. Across from the reception desk is the Wall of Fame, an impressive display of RTL’s golden records and awards received over the decades. The spaces then become more private or specialised, while the visitors’ lounge is designed as an interactive experience inspired by the Pink Floyd album The Wall: a faux brick wall contains media screens and features more of RTL’s award trophies. But the heart of social life in RTL’s Audio Centre in Berlin is the hub, a semi-public space in loft style where employees, guests and music stars are encouraged to get together and socialise, complete with a professionally equipped stage that can be used to hold in-house concerts and events.
The interior design revolves around the common thread of a journey through the world of music. Elements of light design, neon lights, wall graphics and items of furniture, all in RTL’s trademark red, may be found throughout the space, combining the RTL brand with the lively atmosphere of Berlin. According to the architects of Evolution Design: "To create a loft-like interior, finishes such as gunmetal, plywood and solid wood were used alongside glazed partition walls, perforated cladding panels, denim-textured carpets and custom-made graffiti-style murals. Handrails sourced from Berlin’s U-Bahn add an urban touch. Striking lighting solutions, including custom-made lights resembling microphones and a lighting feature that suggests sunshine filtering through treetops, further evoke both the music industry and city life".
The designers report that they faced two main challenges in the project: the degree of technical specialisation required by production and broadcasting studios, "including double-studded thick gypsum walls set at angles, and interior glazing set at a slant" to offer an optimal acoustic environment, and creating interiors that reflect the explosive energy of the music industry while maintaining a timeless look that is not associated with any particular style trend, in order to adapt to the great variety of forms of musical expression produced and broadcast by the four radio stations housed in the building.
Firm: Evolution Design https://www.evolution-design.info
Location: Kurfürstendamm 208, Berlin, Germany
Floor Area: 2700 sqm
Photography: Sebastian Dörken/Max Schroeder
TV NOW/Kevin Schünemann