‘Heritage is key to this project’ Outernet CEO Philip O’Ferrall on reviving London’s Tin Pan Alley

London’s Denmark Street, often referred to as the birthplace of the British music industry, is currently being revamped. Set to open later in the year, Outernet London aims to combine the tradition of London’s Tin Pan Alley with cutting-edge technology to offer several new live music venues along with a massive public atrium that houses a cutting-edge 360-degree screen.

“We really want it to become a beacon of music,” Philip O’Ferrall, CEO of Outernet Global, told Audio Media International. ““Heritage is key to this project – but we’ve managed to blend that with ultra high-tech.”

With a soft launch planned for 31 October this year, Outernet London will be able to host immersive media experiences in its giant atrium, known as the The Now Building. The four-storey high building sits just a few metres from the exit of Tottenham Court Road Tube station and boasts gigantic 360-degree, 16k screens featuring the highest density of pixels anywhere in the world. Thanks to engineering from Brilliant Stages, the sides of the atrium can be opened up so that the screens can be seen from the street. 

Outernet London’s Now Building

The atrium will play host to a wide range of immersive experiences from award ceremonies to product launches. “At any time of day or night, when you pass through this massive public atrium it will be focused on entertaining an audience that’s relevant at that time,” said O’Ferrall. With a background as a TV executive, O’Ferrall has been busy assembling a team of music and TV industry experts to take care of creating and scheduling content for the gigantic screens.

A spatial audio sound system is an integral part of the atrium’s 360 experience. “We’ve over-engineered the acoustics and the audio,” said O’Ferrall. “We’re working with the best partners in the industry to get the best-sounding building. We’re using an L-Acoustics sound environment, so not only is the video staggering, it’s also massively advanced from an audio perspective”. 

The venue also includes PMC and Void Acoustics among its key audio partners. 

Brit Award-winner Celeste

Underneath Outernet London’s distinctive atrium sits a 2,000-capacity mixed-use space, the biggest large-scale music venue to be built in central London since the 1940s. The Outernet complex, which stretches across several buildings, also features two smaller live venues, including the reborn 12-Bar Club which was packed up and moved in one piece from its previous spot on Denmark Street. 

As part of its revival of London’s musical Mecca, Outernet has partnered with the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) – the trade association for UK record labels and home to The BRIT Awards and The Mercury Prize. As well as showcasing performances from BPI events such as The BRITs, the partnership will also see the opening of The BPI Recording Studio. This professional quality pro-bono studio on Denmark Street will focus on nurturing the next generation of UK musical talent.

Outernet has also established content partnerships with the likes of GQ and Ridley Scott Creative Group, and also recently teamed up with legendary music broadcaster Whispering Bob” Harris to bring filmed sessions and live music to the Denmark Street district.

Brit Award-winner Dave

The Outernet London complex also features additional areas that can be used for press junkets or smaller events, while music and entrainment industry-focused rooms and residences are helping to bring the area’s rich history back to life. One of the spaces that makes up the complex is Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McClaren’s former office, and the house where the Sex Pistols lived. The space, now known as the Anarchy Suite, still features Johnny Rotten’s graffiti on the wall and can be rented out for parties and events. 

After revitalising the area of London where Ziggy Stardust was born, Outernet plans to open two more venues in New York, and one in LA. “Ultimately, we’ll have a network of connected immersive entertainment districts,” said O’Ferrall.