Script-writing is usually the first step of film production. The designers have thus incorporated this element into the design of this cinema project. Breaking down scripts into smaller elements, Chinese characters are used as a representation of script-writing. In the final design of the project, the theme is portrayed through the installation of Chinese radicals throughout the cinema perimeter. Chinese radicals are the roots of the formation of Chinese characters; each of them carries a unique meaning, and can be grouped in different combinations to create different Chinese characters with new meanings. This three-dimensional installation of Chinese radicals can be found throughout the cinema perimeter, as if the audience is wandering in pages of the script.
As you enter the cinema, you can see white Chinese radical decorations stretching across ceilings and walls. In the lobby, the radicals become three-dimensional and are hung from the ceiling. These radicals are made by bending metal poles into different angles, shapes, and sizes; they are scattered and overlapping randomly but elegantly, creating a surreal and dreamy atmosphere.
The floor pattern of the cinema also resonates with the theme of Chinese radicals. The floor was finished in dark brown stone terrazzo, where metal trimmings highlight the Chinese radical floor pattern, echoing the decorations on the ceiling and the wall.
Long rectangular boxes stagger on top of one another to form the Ticket Office table, resembling the elongated three-dimensional radical decorations on the ceiling. The designers have placed long benches in the lobby, which allows the audience to relax and enjoy the decoration. These custom-made benches are actually cylindrical Chinese radicals, they act as another form of representation of the theme.
Interestingly, the signage of the Concession Area and Ticket Office are in English, which contrasts with the Chinese radical decorations. Neon lights are used to construct the signage, enabling it to stand out from the background. At the same time, its shape harmonizes with that of the radical decorations, creating an integrated feeling in the entire area.
The theme of Chinese radicals extends into the auditorium. Brown and grey acoustic panels are applied on the wall, they are piled up in different thickness to create popped-up Chinese radicals. This design has carried the dynamic design of the lobby into the auditorium, subtly connecting with the theme of the entire cinema.
The main theme of the cinema was “Chinese Character”, a meaningful element that can represent Chinese culture, but at the same time a cliché theme for Chinese culture. Many people have already incorporated Chinese character in their designs, for example printing Chinese characters on wallpapers and decorations, which made it a big challenge to outshine the many existing examples.
Also, the cinema where this project took place had a really low ceiling, it was hard to decide what decorations to be placed there, as it would easily look very crowded and crammed.
Apart from that, after the designers have decided to include 3D Chinese radical (a Chinese character element) decorations in the design, they found that it was hard for contractors to execute the design. As the 3D radicals were designed to be face different directions, installing them in a wrong direction would ruin the entire design; it was necessary to ensure that they are installed accurately at the site for the best effect.
Instead of using Chinese characters to represent Chinese culture, the designers created a design of 3D decorations with radicals. Beside the fact that “Chinese radicals” is a less common representation, it is also easier to apply to the design. Because there are less strokes and radicals look less complicated than actual characters. Chinese radicals also have their own meanings, and they can be grouped in different combinations to create different words. It has thus allowed more variations in the design.
With a low ceiling in the cinema, the designers strived to create a design that would not overload the space. Firstly, using radicals would take up less space than characters as they are smaller in size. Secondly, instead of printing the radicals on rectangular blocks, the designers created frame-like blocks in the shape of the radicals. These decorations were made by bending metal poles and welding them into many layers. These radical installations were arranged to scatter around the space, presenting the theme without making it too crowded.
In order to clearly communicate with the construction workers how the radicals to be arranged and installed, the designers created 3D models that clearly show the direction of radicals, and the spacing among them. It was also helpful in allowing them to present to the client how the project will finally look.
One Plus Partnership Limited is an award-winning Hong Kong-based design firm established in 2004 by Ajax Law and Virginia Lung. One Plus designs a variety of projects, including cinemas, restaurants, retails stores, club houses, sales offices, branding and product design projects. Over the past 13 years, One Plus has been awarded over 400 international interior design awards from USA, Germany, Italy, UK and Japan.
In 2012, One Plus was the sole winner of Andrew Martin Awards - The International Interior Designer of the Year Award, the first Asia design company who has won this honor. In 2013, One Plus received the Gold Award in iF Design Award, the first Hong Kong interior design company that has won this title, and then again won the Gold Award in 2016. In 2016, awarded the Cultural & Creativity Awards by the Hong Kong Association of Cultural Industries, officially recognized as the Hong Kong design company that has received the most international awards in the previous 5 years.