Palma Music Studios part 1: Why build a music studio in Mallorca?

By | April 5, 2021

Welcome to my blog about building a world class studio complex on a Spanish island in the Mediterranean. Palma Music Studios has six studios and a living room – on a total of three floors in the heart of Palma in Mallorca. This is a blog by me, Fredrik Thomander, where I want to tell about the studio construction and my tips and experiences. Much pleasure! Read the blog in English here

Why build a studio complex?
That may be a legitimate question these days. Music creators today often work in laptops and collaborate online. Large studios may feel like a thing of the past, but there is something special that happens when musicians meet in places created for music creation. A place where everything is there and prepared, where the recording process is simple, where the acoustics are perfect and where you can play at high volume without disturbing anyone.

Why build the studio in Mallorca?
I think most big cities already have enough studios. In London, Los Angeles, Berlin and Stockholm there are fantastic recording studios, and when I moved to Mallorca in 2014 I had no plans to build a large studio. But artists I previously worked with wanted to come to Mallorca instead of working where we used to be. At the same time, my current studio partner, Johan Lundgren, with whom I had just become friends, thought it strange that such a lively place as Palma did not have a fantastic music studio. Johan’s studio in London was also empty for the most part. And then one day in February 2015, I drove past this empty plot in the middle of Palma. After that it went pretty fast.

BLOGPOST1c_red.thumb.jpg.37aa7573177cafab2280c92f9586512c.jpgI sent this picture to Johan, almost like a joke, and asked him if it could be our future world-class studio?

The place for the studio
We bought the plot and decided that we wanted to create a “city studio” close to everything that Palma has to offer, but still with integrity. The place Son Espanyolet was the perfect choice. The piece of land was basically an old ruin filled with rubbish. But the location was perfect. Right next to Santa Catalina, where some of the best restaurants on the islands are located. And just a few minutes walking distance from the sea.

The location of the studio – right next to Santa Catalina and a few minutes walk from the sea

The planning
We started drawing and sketching ideas for what the studio complex would look like, called friends who had built studios, and I thought of all the studios I had worked with before. We wanted to build a place where many people could work at once, but still with integrity. In the picture below to the left is one of our first rough ideas that was later completely changed. We soon met local architects, including the acoustic engineer Nick Whitaker from the United Kingdom. After a few weeks, some first drawings were made. (Picture below right).

One of the first sketches, and one of the first real drawings

The team behind the construction of the studio complex
Before the excavation began, there were of course many meetings and decisions about who we would work with, and not least apply for a permit. We were lucky because we found Javier Bethencourt from the local construction company Islabau. Local architect Gabriel Rechach from RM arquitectura and interior architects Marga & Vero from Bornelo. For the acoustic design part, we contacted Nick Whitaker, who has done the acoustics for many famous studios around the world.


The “dream team” behind the building construction. From left: technical architect Cristobal Ramis, chief architect Gabriel Rechach, acoustic designer Nick Whitaker, chief engineer Javier Bethencourt and interior designer Marga Comas

The excavation
We had a limited area and could not build more than two floors above ground. But the soil was good and there were no limits to how deep we could dig. So we started digging. We did not just want to build a studio – we wanted to build the best studio ever built.

IMG_5711-1_red.thumb.jpg.6088d38827108a0bd0dc95339a5b7a88.jpgExcavation begins

Continuation follows in part 2 …

Fredrik Thomander
Palma Music Studios