Workspace Tour: Rolla Productions
Jake Nam talks production studio design
Singapore-based video production house, Rolla Productions, has produced some of the most memorable TV advertisements over the past two years, including the recent Milo Peng commercial starring Nathan Hartono. Led by Director Jake Nam, Rolla Productions cooks up its creative concepts in a humble but handsome studio located in an industrial neighbourhood.
Jake, how long have you guys been here?
This studio is as old as our company. We’ve been here about two years.
What did you consider when designing your office?
We wanted a studio that was humble and comfortable — one that would allow our clients to feel at home. We avoided making this space feel serious and uptight as our field of work is stressful enough. Comfort was most important to us — we needed a place where both our clients and us could feel at ease in.
“Our office isn’t big enough for a reception area, so we made do with a small waiting area with two benches,” Jake says. This is where talents will sit and wait during their casting calls, and where clients attend to phone calls.”
Were you guys inspired by other workspaces?
Definitely. The look that both of us adore can be described as a mix between organic and industrial. When we were searching for ideal office designs, we both wanted a grey space. Even if we were to move out of this office, the grey, black, and wood accents would still follow us to our new space.
What were some of the challenges you faced when designing the office?
Keeping within the budget. Ha! A huge part of our budget went to technical equipment needed to maintain productivity and efficiency, but there were décor pieces we knew we wanted, such as a leather couch and a neon sign of our company name. We felt that these touches would add character to the space.
Jake outfitted the main editing suite with technical equipment. The suite houses professional monitors and is where the Rolla team carries out their colour grading, visual effects, and editing. There’s even a couch for clients to rest on. “We wanted it to feel like a comfortable home theatre but with premium equipment,” Jake adds. The suite is directly connected to the recording room, where talents record voiceovers.
The recording room sits just behind the main editing suite.
What do you guys like most and least about your workspace?
When we first moved into the office, it wasn’t that colourful and vibrant. It had a monochrome palette, but the current design is a mix of monochrome and loud colours because we keep a number of filming props in the space. Our studio design has grown with the projects we’ve taken on, and we enjoy being surrounded by that.
The thing we like least about our studio would be the size of the space — it’s quite small. We kept a lot of filming equipment and boxes of props around when we first moved in, which created a big mess. It also destroyed the aesthetic of the entire place, so we decided to keep our stuff in a rented storage space.
Did you guys realise the space was too small only after moving in?
No. We both decided we wanted our studio to be a boutique production house; we didn’t want a huge office. Even though some of the clients we work with are pretty high-profile, we wanted the studio to stay cosy. Plus, we’re a small team, so a small space works well for us. The thing we forgot to consider was the amount of storage space we would need over time.
The custom-built wooden desk makes up the workspace of Rolla’s producers. “We avoided cubicles and went with an open desk as we wanted it to be casual,” Jake says. Huge windows let in ample sunlight and is a favourite feature amongst staff in the office.
Besides the editing suites, do you have any other treasured spots in the office?
We can’t let go of the producers’ table because we need the open space. We often conduct castings here. We could have built three other rooms within this space but we really wanted the openness.
Is the producers’ table strictly their working space, or is it also used as a communal space for discussions and meetings?
The table is a space not just for our own team but freelancers who work with us too. When we have our own discussions — with or without clients — we usually do it in the main editing suite as it’s a private lounge area where we can communicate freely.
But there are occasions where clients roam around the studio as we talk. They’ll sit on the couch or at the desk and in those situations, there isn’t a designated meeting zone. That’s exactly the kind of atmosphere we wanted to achieve — casual comfort for everyone.
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