Studio visit: Plan8

Plan8
Plan8
Nov 8, 2019 · 4 min read

An old fire station on Södermalm, Stockholm is home to Plan8 workshop, studios and offices.

A raw and original space filled with an inspiring mix of 100-year old instruments and state of the art technology.

In Sweden, where darkness reigns during cold winter months with less than 6 hours of daylight, there’s plenty of opportunity to get lost in creative studio sessions.


The Old Fire Station

We found this place as we were growing out of our former studios a few hundred meters away.

The street level was used as parking garage for nearby neighbours. Beautiful big barn-like doors and prime location close to everything. It was crazy what big potential was buried in in a parking garage for a few cars.

We convinced the landlord to let us take over the place and turn the street level garages into retail and restaurant space and the top floors to music studios and offices.

Within a few months we had a dream-like setup with music studios, workshops and office space on one floor and a top class restaurant and a beautiful vintage clothes store below.

A few Plan8-ers outside the Fire Station in winter time.

Do not Disturb

Sound and music studios are really hard to find, so you basically have to look for the quietest space you can find and then build up sound proofing walls and floors from within. A costly and complex project.

In the old fire station we had a perfect fit for our needs.

To our surprise, an unused and non-insulated large attic space above the studios was part of the contract. This space had another magnitude of magic to it with old fire fighters’ locker closets intact. This space has since been used for studio photo shots, conferences, parties and reverb chambers for string session recordings.

Rikard in the center of a 18 channel speaker setup in the Attic.

Filled with instruments

Experimenting with instruments to find new sounds has always been part of our DNA. In the new space we had a lot of room for surrounding ourselves with an abundance of instruments we had very little idea how to play.

We found an ad in the newspaper about an old public music school up north that had closed down and were selling off their collection of instruments.

We rented a van and drove up there and ended up buying pretty much their entire inventory. From piccola flutes to tubas and trombones. Various string instruments like cellos, and violins. Guitars, banjos and ukeleles started to fill up our space.

Patrik and Andreas fixing some beat up gear.

Piano Bonanza

One of our most useful instruments in experimentation was and still is the piano. We didn’t look for the conventional piano timbre, but wanted to create our own piano sounds.

At the time, you could find a full frame old piano for close to nothing. We filled the studios with 4 or 5 pianos and experimented with the hammers, felting, strings and the cabinet and then sampled them into sample libraries to have quick access when they were needed.

That way we could create unique sound, pertaining to our studio space and our instrument collection.

Piano experimentation. Building blocks for a piano transformation.

Tech Workshop

As we started doing more and more product sound design work, it became evident that we needed to have a dedicated test environment for hardware testing.

A place where we experiment with sounds and music in early prototypes of our clients’ products. Doing sound design work for a tone buzzer on a full range studio speaker is deceitful. Things such as housing material or a buzzer’s resonant frequencies affect the sound too much to be left out and have to be experienced on the right hardware prototype.

The Tech workshop smells of solder smoke and 3d-printed plastic.

Dan working with an AI to tag sounds.

Collaborative spaces

Sound identity work is a highly collaborative process that brings brand and marketing directors, product specialists, design and advertising agency people together to be lead through our design process.

The distance between a whiteboard sketch and a sound file needs to be as short as possible. Literally. With sound studios, workshop and meeting spaces under the same roof, we can prototype, create and iterate sounds in minutes.

We invite our clients to be hands-on during workshops and participate in both active listening sessions and investigating the sound properties of materials and motion.

Lego team looking to the sound of Lego.
Chrome Experiments team discussing the Sonic Umbrella VR experience.

Plan8

Written by

Plan8

Plan8 — a design agency for music and sound.

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