Ex-Police axeman houses his paintings, photos in storied Venice location
Police guitarist Andy Summers’ recording studio, located just a block from the ocean, is housed in an airy, multilevel building with a storied history. Once home to artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (“You can still see some of his paint splatters on the floor” says Summers) and Madonna, the landmark structure was designed and built by architect Robert Mangurian and his firm Studio Works in the early ’80s, and acquired by the guitarist from art dealer Larry Gagosian in ’85.
Combining functional areas with unexpected architectural details, Mangurian based the layout on that of a Renaissance house in Padua, Italy, reports the musician. “It’s very interesting as it has this inner courtyard — a long rectangle, double floors — and you can never quite figure out exactly where it is if you’re walking under. It’s got this Escher effect.”
Appropriately enough, the space — an unusual mix of high-tech recording studio and comfy places to hang out decorated with idiosyncratic artwork and featuring beach views — still functions like an artist’s studio, Summers says. An accomplished painter, author and photographer, he not only works on his music projects here, but also houses his extensive photography holdings at the location.
With an inhouse engineer who lives in the top-floor apartment, the studio is an ideal setup for a musician, Summers says. “I can just go there anytime I want and experiment with ideas and sounds, work with different musicians and artists, and be creative without the usual restrictions of time and money you face with a commercial studio,” he notes.
A longtime lover of Brazilian music, Summers recently wrote and produced an album, “Fundamental,” in the studio with Brazilian singer Fernanda Takai. He’s also mixed tracks here that were recorded tracks elsewhere, with artists including Debbie Harry, the Kronos Quartet and Q-Tip.
Location: Venice, Calif.
Square footage: 5,000 square feet
Equipment: Pro Tools HD 24 “plus tons of outboard gear.”
Recorded there: Sting, Stewart Copeland, all of Summers’ solo albums and film scores, including “Weekend at Bernie’s.”