This tiny off-grid studio designed for artists is inspired by ancient boat-building techniques

Less is more when it comes to creativity. Less technology, less social media, less WiFi unlocks and taps into more of what truly inspires us to create. Artist residencies provide those quiet spaces in family homes and cabins alike, with limited access to technological luxuries, pushing creatives to do what they do best– create. Commissioned by Galway’s week-long multidisciplinary residency Drop Everything, architect and interior designer Jordan Ralph debuted his own off-grid artist residency, Studio Drop. Founded in 2012, Drop Everything brings international artists to the edge of Inis Oírr, the smallest of the Aran Islands, stationed on the unruly Atlantic coastline.

Following a visit to Galway where he collaborated with boat builders to revive ‘Loveen,’ the Galway Hooker fishing boat, Ralph felt inspired to reinterpret those building techniques when constructing Studio Drop. Cladded with larch wood, a type of timber that’s grown in sustainable plantations, Studio Drop gradually twirls into a short cylindrical frame with a discreetly pitched bottom skirt. Studio Drop was given a natural green painted finish to complement the rocky coastline capped with seaweed and sea moss. Beneath the wooden panels that encase Studio Drop’s interiors, the residency was built on an overlaid steel structure once again inspired by the construction of traditional Galway Hooker boats.

Inside Studio Drop, only a wooden bench bends around the studio’s walls, and a hammock daybed woven from a trawler net collected after it washed ashore following a coastal winter storm hangs overhead. The studio retains its Irish boating origin story even when it comes to its natural insulation method. Kept warm during cold Galway winters with sheep’s wool insulation, the insulating cushion is held in position with the same trawler nets from which the day bed is woven. When inspiration comes knocking from the outdoors, artists and residents can relax on the structure’s exterior bench positioned right beneath the studio’s window facing the sea. Otherwise, residents can climb to the roof using the studio’s exterior ladder to access fuller panoramic views and nighttime stargazing.

Designer: Jordan Ralph

Stationed atop the rocky cliffside of Galway’s Atlantic coastline, Studio Drop can bring artists to the height of their creative potential.

Isolated, for the most part, Studio drop is a stripped-down artist residency for creatives ready to leave the modern world behind for a moment.

The studio’s exterior window ledge doubles as a bench for coastal views.

An exterior ladder brings residents to Studio Drop’s roof, offering unfettered views of the wild Atlantic sea.

Painted a sea moss green, Studio Drop’s exterior complements the blue-green sea and seaweed strewn rocks.

Inside, trawler netting props up sheep’s wool insulation and weaves a hammock daybed for sleeping.

Jordan Ralph reinterpreted the boat-building methods used to construct Galway ‘Loveen’ boats to build Studio Drop.

This tiny studio apartment sits in your backyard to give you a bonus functional and flexible space!

Not every family can move into a larger home when they are falling short on space as children grow up. While it would be an ideal solution, it involves uprooting everyone from friends, extended family, adjusting to a new school/job as well as the whole process of moving which is extremely draining. To offer a smarter, more convenient solution, Parsonson Architects created the Herald Garden Studio – a functional, flexible, freestanding 183-square-foot structure that sits in your backyard to accommodate for all those growing pains!

Sometimes the best solution is to find a way to make the most of what one already has. Herald Garden Studio was born from one such situation because the client was a couple from New Zealand and they live in a small two-bedroom Victorian cottage that was getting cramped with their two growing sons. They didn’t want to leave their neighborhood and this compact backyard studio was the perfect economical solution. It provides additional space for a peaceful retreat, to study, work from home, make-shift guest house, or even storage. It is separate from the house but visually connected and linked by a sheltered outdoor space.

The interior incorporates an office space toward the front of the studio, a bathroom, and storage space at the rear, and the play area and guest bed in the loft up the ladder.

The loft is a cozy space, made more secure with the installation of netting at the edge.

There are a number of windows on the upper level to let in natural light and bring in a view of the valley outside.

To keep costs low, a range of simple materials was chosen. Wooden beams, set in a triangular arrangement, form the supporting structural framework, while the walls are clad with zero-formaldehyde oriented strand board (OSB), and the roof and the rear and side walls covered with green, corrugated Colorsteel, a low-cost option that matches the surrounding garden.

In addition, there is a pergola covered with durable but inexpensive polycarbonate and a wooden deck that extends around most of the studio. A hole has been cut into the deck to accommodate an existing olive tree.

The architects explain:

“Both the deck, pergola, and the main interior space have been conceived as one triangulated structure, stitching together the spaces and reinforcing the interior-exterior connection, while relating to the delicacy of the surrounding vegetation. Materials are unadorned, raw and but carefully assembled.”

Besides the walls, the interior sliding doors and bathroom counter are made from OSB as well, all finished with natural WOCA oil. Some people may understandably balk at the idea of having wall-to-wall coverage of raw OSB, but it’s an economical choice that is both easy to maintain, and also helps to emphasize the openness and minimalism of the space.

Nevertheless, there are pops of color here and there in the sea of honey-colored OSB, most notably in the bathroom at the rear of the studio, which features a shower stall clad with a red Invibe panel board. There’s also a custom-designed lighting sconce, again made with the red Invibe panel board.

Created with simple and cost-effective materials, this award-winning garden studio is a great example of urban infill on a small scale, a well-built solution that allows one family to continue living on a compact property closer to the city, without having to move further afield.

Designer: Parsonson Architects

Roland’s new mobile mixer aims at turning your smartphone into a full-fledged recording and production studio

The smartphone is already a capable content-creating beast… Roland just makes it better by allowing it to interface with the rest of your pro-recording and production gear.

You can’t plug your electric guitar or studio mic into your smartphone. Believe me, I’ve tried. I fancy myself a bit of a musician and I’ve always wanted to be able to record directly into my smartphone without relying on my phone’s third-grade microphone, but that isn’t possible for multiple reasons – one of them being the fact that tech companies hate putting ports on phones. That’s sort of where Roland comes in with its GO:MIXER PRO-X, a hardware interface that lets you hook multiple recording and musical instruments to your phone, turning it into the ultimate studio. Perfect for mobile-based content creation and impromptu live-streams (something that’s absolutely sparked amidst the pandemic thanks how easy TikTok has made it to be an overnight star), the Roland GO:MIXER PRO-X is a handy, pocket-sized portable mixer that lets you connect your phone to practically every music/performance instrument around you.

Roland GO:MIXER PRO-X Portable Smartphone Recording Studio

Designed to be compatible with iOS as well as Android smartphones, the GO:MIXER PRO-X is a nifty piece of hardware for musicians, performers, presenters, and even podcasters. Just plug it to your smartphone and you suddenly have an entire variety of ports and knobs for all your recording gear. The GO:MIXER PRO-X connects to your smartphone via its USB-C or Lightning-connector interface and supplies power to it too, keeping your phone juiced during your recording/performance. It has dedicated inputs for microphones, guitars, synths, bass, and even drums, while knobs on the top let you control their gain, balancing the audio to your liking.

Roland GO:MIXER PRO-X Portable Smartphone Recording Studio

If you cringe at the idea of having to host a proper professional livestream with AirPods in your ears, the GO:MIXER PRO-X brings back the familiar 3.5mm headphone line-in, allowing you to connect monitoring headphones in to listen to the audio feed going into your phone. You can use it solo, controlling and balancing your sound, or you could switch on your phone’s camera and position yourself in front of it, giving the mixing duties to a fellow colleague or sound-engineer. Instead of needing to have expensive audio/video recording, monitoring, and studio equipment, all you need are your instruments, your smartphone, and the GO:MIXER PRO-X. It’s perfect for musicians, podcasters, radio hosts, DJs, interviewers, and even teachers who conduct online classes. After all, your smartphone’s more-than-capable hardware/software shouldn’t get kneecapped by its inability to connect to pro-grade recording equipment, right?

Designer: Roland

Roland GO:MIXER PRO-X Portable Smartphone Recording Studio

Roland GO:MIXER PRO-X Portable Smartphone Recording Studio

Roland GO:MIXER PRO-X Portable Smartphone Recording Studio

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