CINEMAS IN CHINA HAVE NEVER EXUDED AMBIENCE or looked more like the movies they show than these ones conceptualised by One Plus Partnership ─ a multi award winning interior design firm based in Hong Kong. Founded by Law Ling Kit and Virginia Lung, the pair and their team have thought out some of the most out-of-this-world designs for China’s zaniest cinema, restaurant and retail spaces.
For more of their work, goto: Shooting Stars! It’s Showering Meteors in Meteor Cinema!
Tangled Copper Pipes Run through this Cinema
Adapted from OnePlusPartnership newletter
When designing for a cinema, what better ideas to draw inspiration from than from the world of film-making itself? That is exactly what One Plus Partnership did. They got the idea from the copper tubing used for filming tracking shots for movies. In formulating the theme for the Shanghai Omnijoi International Cinema, China ─ one of their most recent in April or May 2017, the featured theme of copper tubing for the cinema runs throughout movie theatre, from the lobby right through to the auditoriums.
In the lobby, metal tubes wound and overlap each other in the ceiling. Some of the tubes reach down and cleverly become seats! Some enlarge and act as ticketing counters. (Very clever!)
These straight tubes bend sharply at random places into different angles, abstractly imitating the form of rails. Elongated lights are installed along these tubes, adding varieties to the ceiling feature and illuminate the space.
In the auditorium, the walls are decorated by segments of the metal tubes. The bent segments are modified with lighting at both ends, the designers arranged them to point towards different directions to enhance the lighting effect. The tailor-made carpet has patterns similar to the form of the metal tube decorations, hinting at the theme of rails of the design.
Disaster Replicated in Exploded Cinema, Wuhan, China
Text adapted from Contract Design
Dubbed “Exploded Cinema” for obvious reasons, this 11-screen movie theatre situated in Wuhan, central China, pays homage to the eye-popping special effects of disaster thrillers like Twister and The Day After Tomorrow.
“We wanted to create a sci-fi universe, where visitors could come and be inside the movie world rather than just watching it,” said Virginia Lung Wai Ki, director of One Plus Partnership, the designers of the cinema.
“We wanted to create a sci-fi universe, where visitors could come and be inside the movie world rather than just watching it.” ─ Virginia Lung Wai Ki
Exploded Cinema was a 2015 project and one of the 15 movie theatres that One Plus Partnership has designed. Lung Wai Ki and husband Ajax Law Ling Kit was quoted in contractdesign.com that they co-founded their commercial interior firm, “to do cool things”. Their clients in China, they say, want designs that are “dramatic, modern, and futuristic”.
Quoted in the same article, Ruan Yong Chao, the vice general manager at Hubei Insun Cinema Film Company (the designer’s client) was reported to have said: “There are a number of new cinemas in this area, but thanks to its innovative design, Exploded Cinema is the most popular and highest grossing among them.”
Metal Beams that Protrude at Haphazard Angles
For the 66,740-square-foot theatre, the design team created an entry corridor that leads to a spacious lobby. The dark, dramatically lit passage sets the tone with an installation of white metal beams that project at haphazard angles from the ceiling and occasionally crisscross. Some rectilinear forms—made of a solid-surface material—appear to have fallen and become embedded in the floor, forming sculptural seating. The monochromatic palette, which extends to the floor of black marble with white veining, focuses attention on the angular shapes. “When you walk in, you don’t really know what is going on. There’s a dynamic sense of things flying around,” Lung Wai Ki was said to have said.
“When you walk in, you don’t really know what is going on. There’s a dynamic sense of things flying around.” — Lung Wai Ki
Where guests arrive in the lobby, the ceiling rises to 30ft. Here, much larger beams, powder-coated in black and brightly lit from within, appear as portals to another world. Opening at the ground level, some of these structures house the ticket office and concession stand. An immense suspended sculptural element, clad with LCD screens on all sides, has the impact of a contemporary art installation.
The theater has 10 similar-size screening rooms and one large screening room with 344 seats. The walls and ceiling of the jumbo theatre are covered with approximately 6,000 boxes of gray acoustic paneling, tilted and mounted at six different angles for a random appearance. The spectacular visual effect also gives the room superior acoustics, since all of the angled surfaces absorb sound more effectively than a flat surface. Interspersed with the panelling are acrylic box-shaped light fixtures.
A VIP lounge features an angular bar in black marble and graphic walls of black-and-white acoustic panelling. Even a visit to the bathroom is a trip into a potential future: Custom pedestal sinks and wastebins emerge from the floor at unexpected angles. In the bathroom for the VIP lounge, the faucet is a square tube, dangling from the ceiling, which automatically releases a stream of water when a sensor is triggered.
Said Lung Wai Kee: “We want to change people’s minds of what a cinema should be, so they’ll expect more from their viewing experience. Movie theaters should be fun and different.”
“We want to change people’s minds of what a cinema should be, so they’ll expect more from their viewing experience. Movie theaters should be fun and different.” — Lung Wai Kee