Klein Dytham architecture’s (KDa) project has its origins in a global act of generosity. YouTube has created YouTube Space Tokyo that provides free facilities for the use of their top video producers in Asia. Including studios, production suites, training areas, and lounges, the Tokyo center is one of a number of similar facilities YouTube are creating around the world – others are in London and Los Angeles. YouTube’s goal was to create a ‘collaborative production facility’, providing both training and production support to help their most energetic producers elevate their videos to a fully professional level.
KDa’s unique interior project is located high in the Mori Tower in central Tokyo. On entering, the visitors encounter a visually striking wall of red panels derived from the YouTube’s iconic logo – the logo is three-dimensionalized, cast in ‘ceramic wood’, and lacquered. Serving to orient visitors to the facility, the logos fade from bright red in the reception area to pink in the lounge to white in the café and kitchen area.
Around this KDa have arranged production studios, an audio recording space, a green screen studio, control rooms, an editing suite, a make-up room, green rooms, a VIP space, a café, and a large training room for seminars and learning software. All of the spaces – not just the studios – have been designed to allow shooting. The variety of wall surfaces, carpet shades, and ceiling configurations is intended to provide a wide range of settings. One wall serves as a ‘Hall of Fame’ showing images of the top producers. A super-long curtain – made from fabric by famed Tokyo manufacturers, Nuno – snakes through the interior allowing flexible division of the space. A custom-designed sofa can be rearranged to suit a variety of formats – panels, interviews, and so on. The space has also been arranged to maximize the use of the skyline view, including the iconic Tokyo Tower, as a shooting backdrop.
The project is remarkable in squeezing fully equipped production studios into a standard office floor. In the past, production studios required high ceilings to prevent the hot lighting rigs literally cooking performers. Modern LED lights, however, are cool and can be used in the space offered by high-rise office floors. KDa still need to overcome considerable technical challenges, which they achieved in part by carefully placing the studios in areas of the floor relatively free of ducting and thereby gaining a little extra ceiling height.
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