Robert De Niro lands starring role as BIG partner for first-of-its-kind movie studio
In what must be one of the more unexpected collaborations we've reported on in some time, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has designed the new premises for the Robert De Niro-backed Wildflower Studios. The project is described by BIG as the "first vertical film studio in the world" and will also create New York City's first purpose-built production soundstage.
The studio will be located in Queens on an awkward, flood-prone site that only allowed for a relatively compact footprint but a generous height. Therefore, BIG is stacking its interior vertically, over seven floors. Whether or not this will offer any advantage over the typical squat horizontal layout of other movie studios remains to be seen, but it's certainly an interesting approach.
The building will reach a height of 145 ft (44 m), with an exterior finished in precast concrete panels that are angled to create a pleasing effect in the sunlight. Its interior will measure 760,000 sq ft (roughly 70,000 sq m) and host streaming, augmented reality, virtual reality, dedicated gaming technology, alongside more traditional production environments, such as a total of 11 sound stages.
Elsewhere will be multiple offices, fitness facilities, cafes, lounges, production support areas, parking spaces, as well as a publicly accessible esplanade. Additionally, two open-air terraces will provide views of the Manhattan skyline.
"We are excited to continue our work with Wildflower to bring film production back to New York City in a way that has never been done before," said Bjarke Ingels, founder of BIG. "The vertical media production village will be home to storytellers working across all mediums – a three-dimensional hub of collaboration, creativity, and innovation. While New York City is no stranger to being the star of many visual stories – the city effectively a character in itself – this first ground-up vertical production stage complex marks a new chapter in the city's ability to create the stories of our future."
Though further details are still slim at this early stage we do also know that the building will feature a roof-based 150,000 sq ft (14,000 sq m) solar panel array that will reduce its draw on the power grid.
Wildflower Studios recently received planning permission and is expected to be completed in 2023. As well as BIG and De Niro, the project also involves the Hollywood actor's son, Raphael De Niro, and Adam Gordon and Matthew Dicker of Wildflower Ltd, an e-commerce development company.