Cinemas have gone through many phases, locked in a constant battle to stay relevant and keep bringing in the crowds. When television first became mainstream, cinemas went through a turbulent time of finding new ways to be interesting, and everything from 3D movies to the release of scents intended to heighten viewer experience were trialled.
Today, with Netflix exploding in popularity around the world, more than ever before cinemas are at risk of becoming obsolete. So it makes sense then that efforts are once again being made to shake up the cinematic experience and draw audiences back in.
The new wave of cinema designs being seen in China, however, defies all expectations for what a movie-going experience is on the most basic levels.
Step Into A New World
Upon stepping into a world-class cinema in the city Wuhan, China, assumption might be that the location had recently come under attack. The interior appears to be all but falling apart and horribly neglected, after some sort of bomb blast. But, upon closer inspection it becomes clear that this disarray is the theatre, carefully designed and built as if the location had suffered some serious destruction. The concept seems to have been to create a theatre that was the set of an action film, and the result is truly striking.
This movie theatre is 1 of 60 in China, all of which feature astonishingly unique designs. Another, referred to as the Meteor Cinema, appears as if caught in an infinite, frozen moment of an overhead meteor shower. The walls and ceiling are streaked with bright lights, creating such a unique effect that many may visit the cinema simply to enjoy the venue itself. That, of course, is the intention.
One can’t help but imagine other venues using similar techniques with equally impressive effects. Imagine a casino floor designed to match the themes of the casino games that reside within it. You could play a game like Jungle Jim in a ‘real’ jungle, or any number of Egyptian themed games surrounded by pyramids and ancient artefacts. If you use your imagination, the possibilities seem almost limitless.
Live The Movie
Virginia Lung is the co-founder of the One Plus Partnership, the company responsible for designing and constructing the unique cinemas. According to her, the idea was to create an experience something like stepping into a film as opposed to simply watching a film from an outside perspective.
She recalls that her and her team came up with the movies that had the most impact on them, then went about creating cinema interiors based on those films. She did not specify which film the explosion was extracted from, but the end result is certainly something impressive to behold.
She elaborated that her intention was always to go one step beyond, truly exploring the possibilities of the cinema space. She pointed out that in the United States and in other parts of China, even cinemas that attempt to go beyond the norm generally tend to stick to the obvious, simply plucking visual elements from films, and regurgitating them into the real world. Her designs, however, recreate films on a fuller scale, making use of the entire cinema, as opposed to just dropping novelty items into the lobby.
A New Era Of Cinema?
The cinemas created by One Plus Partnership have yet to be seen anywhere else in the world, but given the attention they are receiving, it likely won’t be long before they begin to appear beyond China. This may well mark the dawn of a new era for cinemas across the world, and may introduce people to a new, far more immersive and engaging way of watching movies.