Transforming interior spaces with innovative acoustic solutions




Big Fan: The acoustic power inside a world-renowned music producer’s studio

Installer: Project Manager - Mike Dunn, Acoustic Solutions Store

Acoustic Engineer: Marshall Day

Categories: Arts and culture, Bespoke, Offices, Project, Recording studios, Specialty

Account Manager: Anton Agnew

Designer: Aroon Xayalith

Photographer: Rich Clarke

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The acoustic power inside a world-renowned music producer’s studio

The project

BIG FAN is a new not-for-profit, multi-purpose music space designed by record producer, musician, and Grammy award-winning songwriter Joel Little. Having worked with an enviable list of artists such as, Lorde, Taylor Swift, Sam Smith and Ellie Goulding, he wanted to give back to where his career started. Based in Morningside, Aotearoa, New Zealand, BIG FAN offers three world-class recording studios and a live music venue all under one roof.


The team and facilities at BIG FAN Studios are dedicated to helping people fulfil their ambitions through music. They are working hard to create a community that brings people together, supports the role of music in the betterment of people’s lives, and fosters the talents of musicians, songwriters, and those who make it happen behind the scenes. Open to anyone, regardless of experience level, BIG FAN is truly a space for everyone.


Designing music studios is an extremely difficult project that involves a keen eye for detail. The space needs to be set up in a way that allows the inhabitants to be comfortable and creative and to have a clear space to hear and record soundscapes. These environments require a balancing of everything from furniture used and visual aesthetics to acoustic functionality. Most importantly, all three of these areas need to work cohesively to ensure the studio can be used effectively.


The process


The inspiration for these studios was taken from Joel’s home studio in Titirangi, Auckland. Filled with natural tones, plenty of natural light, and furniture to match, there has been a big focus on comfort. When people are comfortable, they are more willing to open and share their creative expressions. To get this right, a slow approach was taken. This meant that each piece of each studio was carefully selected to ensure the right feeling and acoustic properties were achieved. The number and type of objects within a space all have an impact on how the acoustics will perform.


To ensure this process was efficient and with a clear goal, acoustic engineers from Marshall Day were involved. Through testing, they were able to determine how the rooms worked acoustically. This enabled them to provide a report giving suggestions for the items best suited for each room.


Speaking with Joel it is clear to see that he had a clear vision of what he wanted this space to be both for the community and aesthetically. He said “BIG FAN was built to be a place where Kiwi musicians and songwriters would feel comfortable and creative, whether they’re at the top of the game or just starting out on their musical journey. A huge part of that is making the studio spaces welcoming and comfortable through design. We used a lot of natural tones with plenty of natural light, and I love how these rooms have turned out—they sound great, but feel warm and relaxed at the same time.”

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Additional info

The solution

To meet the requirements of each studio, two solutions were selected, Acoustic Timber™ and Quietspace® Panels.


Over the three studios, 200 custom size Acoustic Timber Baffles in Tasmanian Oak were installed. This allowed for the timber theme to be continued, bringing a sense of tranquility and freedom to the creative space. While maintaining an aesthetic theme, each baffle is also designed to help reduce the amount of reverberated sound. This solution effectively moulded two important elements of the room into one solution.


To add to the acoustic capabilities of each space, Quietspace Panels were used for their high performance. Acoustic Solutions Store Director and Project Manager for the BIG FAN Acoustic Fitout, Michael Dunn, explains that “What truly sets this project apart is the seamless fusion of high-end aesthetic finishes and exceptional acoustic performance. While the Acoustic Timber on the walls adds to the visual appeal, it is the Quietspace Panels that truly deliver the acoustic performance. The strategic decision to incorporate these panels into the design helped to maximise the limited space, resulting in an acoustically balanced environment while maintaining exquisite attention to detail. This project’s combination of form and function highlights the exceptional skill and expertise of the teams behind its creation.”

The result

This project was an all-round success, from the early design process through to implementation, everyone delivered. This is best described by Anton Agnew, Autex Acoustics account manager. “I really enjoyed working on this project with Joel to create a homely, relaxing space for talented NZ musicians to explore their potential. From the design process, to installation, there has been a real focus on getting the details right to meet Joel’s brief which is evident when you walk into each studio”

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Project Team

It's all about people

Anton Agnew

Account Manager - Auckland


Marshall Day Acoustics

Acoustic Engineers


Mike Dunn - Acoustic Solutions Store

Installer/Project Manager

Let's create something extraordinary