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Compulsive Productions


Architect: Matt Gibson Architecture + Design
: Shannon McGrath

Compulsive Productions is a film production studio that offers motion graphic, post production and audio mixing services. The fit-out of their studio was an exercise in combining new workplace and brand evolution with a business strategy to host collaborative in-house associations with advertising agencies, independent production freelancers and local creatives.

In an industry that involves short term commissions and roving contract roles, the brief was to create a studio and gallery space with flexibility to house different workplace arrangements from permanent subtenant to a series of hot desks for short stay freelancers. The key requirement was to introduce a ‘state of the art’ film editing suite for the primary business – with the potential to ‘dry-hire’ to third parties wanting a boutique editing experience.

Inspired by the clients love of vintage cameras the design conceptually references historic devices of photography and film – lens, glass, mirror, aperture blades, etc.

Gibson Compulsive

Notionally emulating a camera barrel – a series of acoustically lined enclosures line the main warehouse space. The subdivisions or pods, clad in plywood are opened ended allowing transparency and connectivity whilst maintaining separation. Used for production reviews and colour grading these spaces require the ability to control natural light and transform into a dark spaces, while maintaining a comfort level required for the often long time editing sessions. Truncated in plan and section the volumes play with perspective and depth providing 3D spatial interest while fractal patterns inspired by the shapes created by aperture blades are carried throughout the entirety of the project.

Budget dictated that major change and an entire re-fit was out of the question. In a cost effective strategy that would bring the newer more sophisticated elements into the foreground, the remainder of the space was finished in various shades of black or clad in bronzed mirror allowing them to recede in shadow conveniently recessing the existing and in some cases awkwardly positioned perimeter components such as kitchen, stair and existing office.

Gibson Compulsive

Aligning with studies of ‘sci-fi’ and ‘film noir’ genres the concept delights in the opposition of darkness and light and the tension of past, present and future. The futuristic pods- finely detailed and hi-tech and gleaming, enclosed and cocooning, play off the seemingly vast and infinite exposed nature of the existing warehouse, where surfaces are left rudimentary and industrial. This allows a relaxedness and ability to personalise these left-over spaces. Items of the past such as vintage equipment related to the business, vinyl records and musical instruments – depict a flavour of the retro against futuristic.

At night, with ability to use the venue for stage sets and events, the space in classic noir style transforms with the use of low key lighting and dark reflective surfacing to be at once sumptuous and moody yet ambiguous and mysterious.

Suspended sticklights provide vertical connection between the floors where black and white are deliberately starkly contrasted. A complete iris shift is required as one traverses from the warmth and depth of the upper floor to the ‘white-out’ of the fluorescent lit gallery space and entrance on the lower level. The corporate colour red is interwoven within detail. While the company name does not appear once, red is more subtlety utilised within furniture, objet and neon artwork.

The project is innovative in that the workplace is multi-dimensional allowing for cross-pollination and diversity of event. It provides flexible arrangements that provide multiple avenues for rental revenue while also allowing the core business to gain increased exposure and opportunity to gain new work via association and collaboration with its tenants.


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