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How to Design A Recording Studio that Inspires the Creative Process

There have been heaps of studies in environmental psychology that have tracked the way in which our surroundings impact how we feel and behave. The makeups of our environments, both tangible and intangible, have influence over our mood, and by consciously arranging these elements in ways that are pleasing to the senses, the unconscious mind becomes comfortable, and thus more productive, in its space.

In many low- to mid-tier recording studios, it seems that these concepts have not been a point of consideration in the interior design process. If aspects of design like light, color and decor are vital factors in the way the mind functions and processes ideas, studio owners should be thinking about the ways in which they arrange their spaces, as, subconsciously, they play a large role in the creative process.

How would the quality of music be enhanced if these studios were designed with the artists’ creative process in mind? What if studio owners worked with art therapists and psychologists to pinpoint the type of lights, colors and decorations that are most nurturing for the creative senses? The space would serve more as an incubator for ideas, rather than just a space to lay down vocals and instrumentals.

Light

For many years, scientists and psychologists have studied light’s influence on both the human perception and an individual’s psychophysical wellbeing. For instance, lighting is different in a hospital than in a restaurant because the way a room is illuminated can have a profound impact on an person’s mood and perception. In a hospital, for instance, visibility should drive the lighting design, since a doctor and his medical staff must be able to see the surgery at hand in full detail. In a recording studio, on the other hand, lighting should be used as a tool to stimulate the creative senses.

How do you want artists to feel in your space? Lighting creates an additional level of depth within an environment, and in a recording studio, it ideally should be arranged to compliment the moods of a particular song. Warm and colored lighting, for example, allows the artist to travel deeper into the sensual, introspective worlds they’re aiming to construct musically. Less illumination or UV lighting may applaud club-appropriate tracks. Humans also tend to show uptakes in melatonin in response to natural light. Ultimately, when implemented effectively, lighting in a recording studio can strengthen the relationship between artist and his art.

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Color

Just as light affects the individual’s emotions and functions, color is also able to alter our creative experiences and can have profound subconscious effects. Research shows that blue, for example, stimulates thought and aids our mind in concentration, while yellow has been proven to lift our self-esteem and cast optimistic moods. White can be applied throughout a space for a sense of cleanliness and purity, but only when used in an uncluttered space; otherwise, it can feel stark and uninspired. Green subconsciously makes us feel balanced and in harmony with our surroundings, while violets connect us with our spirituality. Since an artist’s connection with himself is vital for the music creation process, the inside of a recording studio should be designed to pay homage to this concept. Thus, walls, furniture, decorations should be treated with the appropriate colors to uplift desired moods in a studio setting.

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Decor

A vital part of the creative process is artist’s block—creative constipation, if you will. It’s important because it keeps artists hungry for ideas, and when inspiration and creativity intersect, art comes to life. But what if recording studios were libraries filled with sources of inspiration? What if thought-provoking texts and photo books were available for artists’ use? What if recording studios had large drawing pads and notebooks for artists so express their ideas visually before arranging them into musical manifestations? What if there were quiet nooks away from the main space that would serve as escapes for artists when their thoughts need to breathe? Recording studios would become incubators for creativity, rather than just spaces to make music.

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