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Portfolios: Movieland, Haifa, Israel and INOX Cinemas, Gorakhpur, India

Two movie theaters, one located in Israel and the other in India, showcase emerging trends in immersive design for cinemas.

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Just Like Home

Movieland (Haifa, Israel) strikes a balance between a homey, comfortable vibe and steampunk-inspired accents. Designed by Studio Samuelov (Tel Aviv), using warm materials and comfy seating mixed with cues of old-world technology and bigger-than-life props (think: giant suspended trees), the movie theater creates an immersive world for visitors to explore.

Uzi Porat, Pardes Hanna-Karkur, Israel

Uzi Porat, Pardes Hanna-Karkur, Israel

With only three locations so far, the young brand wanted to stand apart from some its major competitors, who largely rely on flashy LEDs and visually “noisy” interiors to engage patrons.

“In terms of design, we combined very different worlds,” says Yuval Samuelov, Founder, Studio Samuelov. “We wanted a balance between classic and machine-like motifs to give people something tactile that they can really connect with, without giving up the historical context of [past] times when the cinema was really bigger than life.”

Uzi Porat, Pardes Hanna-Karkur, Israel

Uzi Porat, Pardes Hanna-Karkur, Israel

The seating in the theater rooms is unusual, much like the seating found throughout the space. “Huge” daybeds in the front row replaced regular loungers, so customers can lay down to watch a movie. (Samuelov says those seats are often sold out.)

In one of the kids’ theaters, the seats were removed toward the front, “We decided to do a lounge area at the bottom, so we removed three rows of seating and made one plateau with a lot of cushions. Kids can just chill out and find a place to sit themselves. We really tried to do something different than the standard experience,” says Samuelov.

Past Meets Present

INOX Cinemas (Mumbai, India) commissioned Sync Design Studio (Gurugram, India) to create an experience in its theaters that could speak to both older and younger clientele alike. This renovation project centered on creating a modernized, ultra-luxurious version of the coveted art deco style, a design approach that’s fairly unknown in the Indian city of Gorakhpur.

Photography: Courtesy of Sync Design Studio/INOX

Courtesy of Sync Design Studio/INOX

The theater is located on the second story of a mall, while the box office is situated on the ground level; its circular glazed-glass lounge visible from the street. Upon entering, customers are greeted by the vaulted, copper-accented ceiling throughout the main areas, paired with dramatic chandeliers, wood paneled doors, champagne-gold wallcoverings and wall sconces, which help create a glamourous interior. The theater rooms, however, have a modern look with predominantly gray-toned walls and flooring and brightly colored seating.

Courtesy of Sync Design Studio/INOX

Courtesy of Sync Design Studio/INOX

“Since the cinema was facing footfall issues, the overall design had to redefine the cinematic experience of the city while keeping tight budgets in check,” says Bhavuk Jain, Architect, Planner, Interior Designer, Sync Design Studio, about the challenges behind the design. “The same has been achieved by selecting locally available and sourced materials and customizing elements as per the right specification with respect to aesthetics and functionality.”

While much of the decor may convey an old world theme, technology played an important part in the experience – customers can access all services via touch panels or their phone, eliminating the need for direct interaction, something that will be of importance in the post-COVID-19 world. “We had to be very thoughtful about integrating art deco elements in the design while giving it a modern twist,” says Jain. “It’s always important to strike the right chords which empower your design and don’t overpower.”

PHOTO GALLERY (12 IMAGES)

Carly Hagedon is the Managing Editor of VMSD magazine. She is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, where she studied Journalism—Magazine Writing and American history. She also currently serves as a board member for the Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).

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