[MDA2012]

2012 Melbourne Design Awards

Sydney Opera House - Stage Management Desk [DRAFT]

Winner 

Project Overview

"Sydney Opera House is not only one of the busiest and most famous performing venues on earth, it is also home to technical and project management teams entrusted with designing the next generation of the buildings systems. Responding to a brief to create a truly world leading design for it aging Stage Management System that controls all FOH and BOH communications, video and audio, Charlwood and the Sydney Opera House team conceived a truly beautiful design solution when tasked with replacing the six stage management desks as part of the largest technical upgrade project since the Sydney Opera House opened in 1973." David Claringbold – Director, Theatre & Events – Sydney Opera House.

Project Commissioner

Sydney Opera House

Project Creator

Sydney Opera House

Team

Sydney Opera House: Brad Maiden and Peter Gahan.
Charlwood Design: Paul Charlwood and Matthew Blythman.
Rutledge Engineering: Matt Edgcumbe, Rob McCormack, Tim Arrell and Michael Rutledge.
Salzbrenner Stagetec: Reinhold Friedrich.
Theatre Plan: David Ludlum

Project Brief

The project team was engaged to design and develop the new stage management desks for the Sydney Opera House, a flexible and functional desk that houses all the control equipment and interfaces within a beautiful and ergonomically designed console.

The Sydney Opera House has a team of stage managers, as well as visiting stage managers from all over the world who use the desks. Each unit gives the stage manager access and control to coordinate the performance including communication, monitoring and lighting control It is critical that the whole system works flawlessly and immediately. It needs to be intuitive and simple.

Each console needed to be easily serviced and the component layout and internal construction was designed with maximum flexibility with electronic components easily replaced, reconfigured and upgraded when required. The consoles needed to be robust to withstand the day-to-day rigours of the theatre.

A total of 6 consoles were produced and fabricated in Germany to the project team’s specifications and distributed across five venues.

Project Need

The project team was engaged to design and develop the new stage management desks for the Sydney Opera House, a flexible and functional desk that houses all the control equipment and interfaces within a beautiful and ergonomically designed console.
The Sydney Opera House has a team of stage managers, as well as visiting stage managers from all over the world who use the desks. Each unit gives the stage manager access and control to coordinate the performance including communication, monitoring and lighting control It is critical that the whole system works flawlessly and immediately. It needs to be intuitive and simple.
A major focus was on the needs of the stage manager, with extensive ergonomic research and development applied to ensure accessibility and comfort with features such as height adjustment, easily accessible interface and storage.
Each console needed to be easily serviced and the component layout and internal construction was designed with maximum flexibility with electronic components easily replaced, reconfigured and upgraded when required. The consoles needed to be robust to withstand the day-to-day rigours of the theatre.
A total of 6 consoles were produced and fabricated in Germany to the Project Teams specifications and distributed across five venues.

Design Challenge

Through project management and communication was critical as the Concept development and fabrication was undertaken over a very tight development timeline. Refinement of the design into a fabricated prototype completed in 5 months.

A notable design challenge for the project team was bringing together all the needs from multiple stakeholders in the project. To ensure a successful outcome an empathetic approach was critical, from the needs of sound engineering team integrating and installing all the electronics, to the fabricator of the units in Germany through to the stage manager themselves, including a cup holder for that all important coffee.

Sustainability

Each console is custom fabricated with a durable sheet metal frame beneath CNC milled panels that avoided the need for using a production process that required tooling such as casting.

The basic product architecture of the console allows different electronics modules to be easily installed / upgraded in the future reducing the need to develop and construct multiple products. Console’s are easily serviceable with individual components easily replaced if damaged to ensure maximum lifespan out of the product




This award recognises a component or overall product. Consideration given to aspects that relate to human usage, aesthetics, selection of components and materials, and the resolution of assembly, manufacturing and the overall function.
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