Studio furniture at the cutting edge


Graham Buchanan TV-Bay Magazine
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by Graham Buchanan
Issue 97 - January 2015

Custom Consoles was established in 1996 to meet the market demand for efficient and robust studio furniture at accountant-friendly prices. That may sound trite but we were working in SI roles ourselves and knew from direct experience how difficult it was to commission third-party desks built to the high standards our clients needed. As the company's name reflects, we specialised from the start in producing furniture tailored to the specific technical requirements and room dimensions appropriate to each project. Our objective was to reduce capital costs wherever possible. Custom Consoles built its name on the design and manufacture of bespoke furniture to a client base that includes the BBC, Channel 4, Carlton, TV4 Sweden, and Sony.

In 1999 we automated the development and production processes at our 12,000 square foot headquarters in Leighton Buzzard, Hertfordshire. From then onwards, we have been using 3D computer aided design and visualisation software. The CAD data feeds computer-controlled tools which allow materials to be machined in three dimensions. This investment eliminated the need to create every furniture element by hand, increasing production accuracy and speed.

Responding to the ever-increasing pressure on timescales and costs, we introduced in 2006 a pick-and-mix range of technical furniture called Module-R. This allows robust and aesthetically attractive consoles to be configured for practically any required room dimensions from a selection of high-quality pods, base sections, 19 inch rack housings, worktops, end-panel modules and legs. Co-ordinated desk pods are available as single-bay sections with up 10U chassis capacity. Module-R cabinet construction is in high-quality veneered MDF. Other features include continuous brush-strip cable access to front worktops. Recent additions to the range include new 19 inch rear-desk equipment pods, new front-access panels with increased ventilation and optional hardwood worktop edging.

Module-R comes in a selection of finishes and can be delivered from stock in 10 to 15 days. The high quality of its design, ergonomics and finish has been recognised by industries such as security, air traffic control, process control and network monitoring. Module-R users include Astro All Asia Networks, Arqiva, Associated Press, the BBC, BT Sport, Cosmos Television, The Home Office, ICS Media Production, Input Media, ITN, Middlesex University, Radio-Television Slovenia, Radio Tlvision Suisse, Scottish Television, Siemens, Teuve and UEFA.

In 2007, we applied the same thinking to the task of mounting flat-screen display panels in process control areas. Widely used by broadcasters, in security centres and industrial process control suites, Media Wall is a robust and efficient multiscreen mounting system. The latest version features a series of enhancements including narrower front-to-back depth, reduced from 600 to 500 millimetres. Like its predecessor, the new version of Media Wall is fully self-supporting and retains the option of adding coupling brackets directly to the studio wall.

Desk sharing is fairly common in many facility houses, particularly those in city centres where space is at a premium. SystemTwo is a multi-element desk designed to accommodate free-standing or pod-mounted equipment such as graphics workstations and editing terminals. The SystemTwo range includes the S2-01B desk and S2-02B shelf, both electrically adjustable in height from 660 to 1,250 millimetres. This gives users the ability to set a worktop to match their personal taste.

All Custom Consoles furniture meets current European legislation for ergonomic and structural integrity, while still ensuring that the look and feel add to the working environment and please the eye.

Demand for tailor-made furniture has certainly not disappeared. An elegant solution provided for Arqiva was a 10 metre wide desk forming nearly two thirds of a circular configuration. This forms the centrepiece of an ultra-modern technical facility at the company's European Playout Centre in Buckinghamshire. The desk and surrounding monitor supports were designed in partnership with Hampshire-based systems integration specialist Broadcast Networks.


Tags: iss097 | studio | furniture | custom consoles | editing | post production | Graham Buchanan
Contributing Author Graham Buchanan

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