The “chaotic” interior of the Meilan Music Studio refers to the spontaneity of the composition

Chinese firm Domani Architectural Concepts has created a recording studio inside the Guangzhou Opera House, featuring an interior covered in mixed wood panels that contribute to its acoustic performance.


Meilan Music Studio is located on the fourth floor of the Opera House designed by Zaha Hadid Architects and opened in 2010 on a site in Guangzhou’s central business district.

Mixed wood panels make up the walls and ceiling of Meilan Music Studio

Domani Architectural Concepts was approached in 2017 to develop a design for the mixed-use studio complex, which is used for rehearsal and recording sessions by symphony and chamber orchestras, choirs and other musicians.

The music studio is spread over two floors and includes a large double-height performance space surrounded by several recording rooms and a workspace for music production, as well as breakout and utility areas.

The wooden interior of Meilan Music Studio with black music stands inside
Domani Architectural Concepts wanted the studio to look chaotic

“The spaces had to be aesthetically creative, as well as freshen up the feel of the traditional music studio while meeting strict acoustic criteria,” said Domani, who was shortlisted in the Civic and Cultural Interior category of the 2021 Dezeen Awards for the project.

The walls and ceiling of the studio are covered with solid wood or slatted acoustic panels arranged in a seemingly random pattern.

A wooden ceiling and walls inside Meilan Music Studio
Panels incorporate lighting and acoustics features

“We aimed to build a chaotic structure with an amazing appearance that seemed to be randomly generated,” the studio told Dezeen. “Design visualizes the spontaneous part of the process of composing music or any kind of creative works.”

Mixed wood elements incorporate integrated lighting and seating, as well as frames around openings that provide a visual connection between the central performance space and the adjoining recording rooms, studios and rest areas.

A black microphone inside a wooden music studio
The recording rooms are also equipped with the same wooden panels

The main consideration for the studio space was to optimize the acoustic conditions. So Domani worked with a company specializing in acoustics to refine the design and identify suitable materials.

“Due to the overall requirements of the sound effect of the place, special materials are used for the walls and floors to strengthen the sound insulation, control the elasticity of sound waves, and prevent damp and static electricity,” explained the architects.

“The irregularity of the space is designed through the combination of design techniques and material density, to avoid the interference of internal standing waves on the recording.”

A bespoke chair was designed for the project by furniture brand A&V, which is part of the Domani Group and is led by the company’s design director, Ann Yu.

The folded geometric shape of the 6 Degree Chair is made from a single section of wood. Like the interior of the music studio, its colliding shapes draw inspiration from the creative process of musicians.

The prototypes displayed in the spaces are splattered with ink that represents the need to constantly destroy and reconstruct the work as part of this unpredictable process.

Meilan Music Studio by Domani Architectural Concepts
The designers were inspired by the creative process of the musicians for the interior

Domani Architectural Concepts was established in 2005 and is owned by Domani Group Limited. He focuses on spatial design and related business planning, business consulting and product development.

The Meilan Music Studio is shortlisted in the Civic and Cultural Interior category of the Dezeen Awards alongside a floating church on a riverboat in London and a project undertaken by Kengo Kuma and Associates to renovate Antoni Gaudí’s Casa Batlló in Barcelona.

The photograph is by Vincent Wu.