Until early 2008, BBC One News and the BBC News Channel had been broadcast out of separate studios. These were brought together in the same studio to coincide with a channel re-brand by Lambie Nairn. The new studio was a wide, flexible presentation space, with screens along three sides.
We were asked to design a newsroom style interior for the screens and supply a large format digital backdrop. The way the flexible space would be used meant the backdrop could be viewed from multiple angles. As a consequence, it was necessary to avoid strong linear perspective and achieve depth through layering and scale cues.
We began with a single storey space, with control rooms and offices at the perimeter. As the project progressed, this evolved into a double height space, with deeper spaces added at strategic positions to enhance different presenter or guest shots.
This design was only originally meant to be on-air for a year, with the channels news output expected to move to their new HQ in central London in 2009. Construction delays mean that the design eventually featured on the main news bulletins from 2008 through till 2013. It still appears, in part, on some weekend news bulletins.
So successful were our designs that, some eight years later, they still form the style template for all digital backdrops prepared for the BBC’s local and regional news studios. Another highlight for us was the design appearing in news footage within the James Bond film, ‘Skyfall’.
“Thank you so much for your fantastic work on the BBC News project, your contribution is virtually the whole set and looks to my eye totally convincing and beautiful” - Martin Lambie-Nairn