We visit some of the best cinema designs in the world


Watch Oscar-worthy movies in a sleek contemporary cinematic design

Ahead of the 2022 Academy Awards this weekend, we’re visiting some of the world’s finest cinema designs to celebrate incredible cinema architecture

Tickets? To verify. Pop corn? To verify. An eye-catching, groundbreaking, and industry-defining cinema design? Check, check, check. Nothing beats the thrill of going to the cinema when it comes to watching a movie. Architecture and cinema have long gone hand in hand to produce the best cinematic experiences. from architecture in cinema, and the key role the built environment plays in modern cinema, to the architecture in which to watch a film – cinema design. Here, and in celebration of the 2022 Academy Awards weekend, we visit some of the world’s finest recent examples of contemporary cinematic architecture.

contemporary cinema design

Teatro Vivo, Sao Paulo

Photography: Ricardo Bassetti

Going to the movies is an unparalleled experience of stepping into a different world – a parallel reality of magic and fantasy. This is exactly the atmosphere that Teatro Vivo, a new cinematic architecture project in São Paulo, aims to achieve with its new design led by architect Greg Bousquet (who was with Triptyque Architecture before establishing his current practice AO -SP). Bousquet’s architecture team, which is currently based between Brazil and Portugal, had to work with an existing structure, as the cinema is located within Vivo, a mixed-use commercial building in central São Paulo. “The challenge was to create a concept-theater where we sought to enhance the construction from pre-existing structures, which were left in evidence [while we provided] innovation through coatings, colors, textures and lighting”, recall the architects. Read more

Beta, Ho Chi Minh City

Photography: Do Sy

The new Beta, a 1,000-seat Vietnamese cinema located on the ground floor of a shopping mall in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), deliberately recalls the bold colorful architecture and deco designs of old Saigon. Fashioned by local interiors company Module K, the intention was to bring the otherworldly glamor of the cinematic experience to a new generation of moviegoers in Vietnam. To achieve this, Module K has created a collage of colorful design and architectural references to HCMC’s past throughout the pastel-coloured interior, including the town’s flamboyant Municipal Opera House and French-designed Central Post Office, l amazing pink Tan Dinh church, the bright colors of Ben Thanh market and the many small alleyways that criss-cross this fast-moving city. Jade Nguyen, director of Module K, describes “capturing iconic Saigon features and transforming them by removing detail, condensing baselines and transforming them into geometric shapes.” Then we applied a solid color processing technique, as used in graphic design and cartoons, to provide a unifying element. Additional writing: Jonathan Bell. Read more

Catford Mews, London

Catford Mews is located just below the legs of the famous giant black cat statue, which looks set to leap across London’s South Circular. It’s an unconventional space to find a smartly designed movie theater. Catford Mews has a three-screen blue cinema, food market, cafe, bar, live entertainment venue, co-working and exhibition spaces, all within the stripped shell of a local Poundland. Bargains can still be found inside, however. Really Local Group collected ideas and input from Catford residents, to provide a truly useful and usable community space. And so the popcorn is reasonable, the ticket prices affordable and the food from one of the local market vendors is at Catford prices not Dalston. Vestiges of the old design also remain. While most of the floor tiles have been painted in a classic warehouse grey, a circle has been deliberately left in the middle of the space, where the original orange and brown floor tiles stand out, providing a physical memory of the old life of space. Elsewhere, familiar warehouse tropes are in abundance, with bare walls and exposed ventilation systems. Additional writing: Elly Parsons. Read more

Palas, Galway

Photography: Ed Reeve

Some 14 years after the idea for a new arthouse cinema in the western Irish coastal city of Galway was first proposed, and with film producers Element Pictures ( who also run Dublin’s Light House Cinema) firmly on board, Pálás Cinema (or Palace) has arrived in 2018. And, despite its long-winded debut, it doesn’t disappoint. A contemporary cast concrete “tower house” located in the city’s so-called Latin Quarter, its somewhat austere exterior gives way to a dizzying interior layout of cast concrete stairways, nooks and passageways that twist intersect. Continuing the 1820s merchant’s house that once stood on the site and whose facade has been recreated to house the ticket office, the interior spaces are domestic in scale and welcoming and contrast intriguingly with its monolithic appearance. Architect Tom de Paor says he wanted the Pálás cinema to offer a contemporary reimagining of the West Irish vernacular of simple, powerful and solid limestone buildings or warehouses with small openings and windows. To “sweeten the pill”, he added “punky, decorative and Arts and Crafts” elements. Some of these are visible from the outside, such as the neon signs, the letters spelling out the cinema’s name molded into the sides of the building and the 24 resin-coated window designs by the late and renowned Irish artist Patrick Scott that make reference to gel filters. used in stage lighting. Stairwells, halls, and rooms are bathed and dappled in reds, ambers, purples, greens, and yellows during the day, and cast playful light effects across the city at night. Additional writing: Giovanna Dunmall. Read more

Metrographer, New York

Photography: Takako Ida

After studying cinema at Harvard, Alexander Olch directed a short film entitled No Vladimir, which he sold to the American cinema chains IFC and Bravo in 2000. “Traditionally, a director offers a gift to the team, so instead of a T-shirt or a hat, I draw a tie. I didn’t know anything about ties, but I thought it would be interesting, and it took about a year to do it,” says Olch, who went to dinner with financial and lawyer friends, who saw the tie and asked to buy this. “I started selling ties to friends through my website, and as this business grew it helped fund the making of my next movie, The Windmill movie information, over the next seven years. After wrapping up that film — which premiered at the New York Film Festival and was acquired by HBO and the Museum of Modern Art — Olch’s eponymous fashion company had grown to the point where his ties, men’s and women’s clothing and items were sold all over the world. , including at Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom, Barneys New York, and three brick-and-mortar stores of his own design. Additional writing: Michael Slenkse. Read more

Cinema Passage, Berlin

Photography: Marcus Wend

A historic Berlin cinema has been restored by interior design and architecture studio Batek Architekten, who have breathed new life into the century-old building in Neukölln, home to art house group Yorck’s Passage cinema Kino. The original building was built in 1908, with a cinema opening there two years later, known as the Passage from 1920. After this six-decade closure, the building served – among other things – of furniture storage space, before being restored to its former function by Yorck in 1989. Today, Batek Architekten has put the cinema’s original neoclassical design first and foremost in a sympathetic redesign that draws out the curved shapes of the windows distinctive arches of the facade in a muted color palette. Additional writing: Hannah Silver. Read more



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