Universal Music Foyer


Berlin; Germany
Competition 2. prize
720 m2

For a long time the foyer of Universal Music in Berlin was rather uninviting. Measuring 30 metres wide and just under three metres high, the space felt dark and narrow. Bland and unused, the space neither represented the company, nor did it offer the public any reason to visit, yet earnest tourists, drawn in by the famous name, would still walk into the foyer hoping to get a taste of Universal Music only to be sent away again as there was nothing for them to see, do or learn. Rather than trying to overcome the cramped space, the design actually emphasises and makes use of it. The entire space is painted black from top to bottom, making all contours and dimensions fade away. In this black box, pine wood furniture serves a functional purpose while creating volume and defining the pathways. The reception desk lies between the foyer’s public and restricted areas. The public part contains a mini cinema; a ‘music box’ - a kind of video booth that allows people to record videos of themselves singing to be uploaded to a Universal Music talent search platform; a record shop and a small museum. In the restricted area behind the reception desk is a sprawling lounge for employees that opens up to the River Spree. This space can be reconfigured to hold readings and concerts, while the public area can become a bar-club for company events. In this way Universal Music’s foyer is finally open to the city, offers a lounge for employees and provides a platform for music in all of its manifestations.