The Axis, Ormside

alma-nac, London, 2020



Photography by Jack Hobhouse     Download Original

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The Axis on Ormside occupies a two-storey brick warehouse on a former industrial estate, which has been vacant for some time

The warehouse has been converted into a complex of ten soundproofed studios arranged along an internal street. The smaller first floor is reserved for a green room - an open-plan communal space for client-facing meetings, networking, socialising and relaxing; and a space to accommodate music management personnel joining song-writing sessions.

A small reception desk is located on the ground floor for managing daily access; longer term tenants will have keyless access using a mobile app. Reflecting a craft aesthetic inspired by Enzo Mari’s autoprogettazione (self-design) approach, the studios are formed from utilitarian, low-cost materials, utilising standard sizes to minimise waste, simply crafted to create an inspiring and unique environment.

The ‘street-facing’ side of the studios is fabricated from CNC-routed plywood cut in such a way that there is zero waste. The green room is furnished with reclaimed and upcycled furniture. New transparent panels in the roof bring daylight into the internal street, and the roof trusses are lit at night to create an atmosphere of a street inside. Gillieron Scott Acoustic Design have ensured the studios are structurally isolated to maximise sound insulation between spaces and control the break-in of external noise.

As a result, internal noise levels will always be suitably low for songwriting, regardless of others working concurrently. The internal finishes of each studio have been designed to control reverberation to industry standards, delivering a high-quality listening environment and creating a sense of privacy and enclosure, and the impression of being removed from the outside world.

The colour scheme of bright contrasting hues applied in tessellating patterns (inspired by the work of Carlos Cruz Diez) is informed by the company’s branding, which was developed by Joana Pereira. A dark teal datum is applied internally along the street, with electric orange trusses in the roof. The teal is also applied to the font elevation, which provides wayfinding and announces The Axis to the wider neighbourhood.

Annual CO2 emissions data (requested in kg/m2/year) was provided as follows: 30 tonnes


  • Begun: Mar 2020
  • Completed: Nov 2020
  • Floor area: 375m2
  • Sector: Office
  • Total cost: £140,000
  • Funding: private
  • Tender date: Nov 2019
  • Procurement: Bespoke
  • Address: 141 Ormside St, London, SE15, United Kingdom

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