Apart from being a great spot for stashing camping equipment, garages are also known as the preferred rehearsal venue of up-and-coming bands. In fact, there is an entire genre of music (not to mention an app) named after them. So when it came time for Roman record label Sounds Familiar to open its own storefront, an old car shed in Rome’s Trastevere neighbourhood made for an obvious choice. Local architecture practice Studiotamat, which specializes in its own brand of edgy, rock-and-roll design (think wicker chairs paired with stainless steel kitchens), was handed the keys to come up with the design.
Understanding that the secret to any musical act with longevity is its knack for ongoing reinvention, the firm’s team focused its concept for the 10-year-old record label’s space on versatility. The wide-open setup it came up with can successfully operate as a vinyl boutique by day, then host a DJ set by night. This flexibility was especially critical given the storefront’s ultra-compact 40-square-metre footprint.
Colour and texture became other key components of the studio’s strategic remix. An investigation into the area above the original space’s false ceiling revealed large wooden beams partially excavated by wormwood — and now prominently showcased in all their soulful glory.
Meanwhile, on the new-wave end of the playlist, a bold purple carpet complements orangey-red metal shelving units that form display space for both records and Sound Familiar’s coveted selection of tie-dyed t-shirts. (Indeed, many people know the brand better as a fashion label than as a record company.) To free up valuable dancefloor space, many of the merchandise displays can be easily repositioned or disassembled after hours.
Wiring that runs along the walls is covered in matching “lobster” red tubing, drawing eyes straight to the main attraction: the pair of wooden speakers mounted on the walls. A Faye Toogood Roly-Poly chair in a coordinating hue adds to the harmonious experience.
As a final nod to the glamorous music biz lifestyle, a full-length curtain used to block off storage space at the back appears to have been sewn from furry boas lifted right off the backs of Penny Lane or Harry Styles. No matter what you’re looking to listen to, Sounds Familiar knows just what to put on.
The A-Side: An old garage. The B-Side: An underground record label’s cool new storefront.