Sydney Opera House, Studio

Sydney, Australia130 seats

This project for a very special venue has an array of very special design elements.

While Sydney Opera House needs no introduction, the studio is a unique space. Repurposed from a space originally designed to house stage machinery, it plays host to an eclectic mix of lively events – theatre, circus, TV recordings and club nights.

The various auditoria within the Opera House are colour coded; the main auditorium is magenta, for example, and the studio space is red. But across all the spaces of the Opera House, strong heritage themes are carried across elements such as timber and rails. Audience Systems and our Australian partners Maxwood Technology sourced chair arms from the original manufacturer, a curved design of white birch timber with a limewash finish. We then adapted them for retractable seating. We also applied a beautiful antique patina to all rails.

The chairs themselves are adapted from our Evolve model but with bespoke upholstery to match the fixed chairs already in the auditorium. The retractable system consists of two components. The main part is a large unit which slides back once closed to store flush with the balcony. Depending on how the space is being used, a small mobile unit can also be attached to the side. The two components can then be joined and opened together using power operation. Special “black box theatre” stair nosing, developed by Maxwood Technology for the project, is designed to ensure that all the aisle illumination is directed gently downwards; none is shining into the eyes of the performers.

The photos speak for themselves – it’s a stunning project and one which Audience Systems and Maxwood Technology have been proud to undertake.

Some of the photos in this case study were kindly supplied by Sydney Opera House