The Broadcast design specialists Veech x Veech had the complex task of adapting a purpose-built office space into a fully functioning newsroom studio for the Al Jazeera London Broadcast Studio location in the Shard Tower.
Veech x Veech were able to turn the biggest design challenge on this project into an asset. Most studios require a minimum ceiling height of 4.5m but at the Shard they were limited to just 2.8m. The problematic low ceilings were transformed into a feature of the on-air appearance, working within and around a complex network of structural beams to create a totally different kind of space that will define the studio’s on-air identity. In a world first for 24/7-news programming, automated lighting has been integrated into the ceiling and sits amongst acoustic panels to create dramatic curved lines that mirror the shape of the news desk below.
By adopting some of the most sophisticated techniques in lighting design and engineering, these fixed units are capable of handling any camera angle or illumination level. Specialist filters have been incorporated into the glass façade and cameras to manage the light exposure from the outside world, further demonstrating the high level of design and performance of the studio that separates it from the normal ‘black box’ approach.
Creating such media hubs is highly specialised and requires precision design, using the camera as an additional tool as part of the process – the perspective of the studio appears differently on screen as opposed to the real-life experience. Digital 3D modeling and 1:1 mockups were used extensively to test and accentuate the perspective composition of the news desk and set design to create a dynamic on-air look, framing the panoramic London skyline. Architects Veech x Veech have applied their comprehensive experience in this specific area of design to create a single space that can interact simultaneously with the lighting, the view out to the capital and the digital presentation screens.
Veech x Veech was also appointed to create the adjacent newsroom to the studio so there would be a direct stylistic link between the two spaces. A bespoke curved desk echoes the newsdesk and contributes to the strong brand identity as the newsroom is also used as a backdrop to the filming in the studio.
Veech x Veech collaborated with project partners MCI Studio Hamburg & mo2 Design, who provided excellent support towards the state-of-the-art execution of the project. MCI Studio Hamburg acted as general contractor and was responsible for technical planning as well as set construction. mo2 created the cutting-edge lighting design.
Patrick Bedeau, Al Jazeera Global Art Director, comments: “This exciting project challenges the way news is made and required the design team to adopt a radical approach, integrating the broadcast studio into the office space within an open-plan setting. The result is the most technologically advanced global production facility anywhere in the world.”