Meteor Cinema is a 2-storey cinema located in a shopping mall in Guangzhou. Meteor is an astronomical observation where a bright trail of light appears in the night sky when a meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere. This beautiful scene only appears in the sky for a very brief moment, and then vanishes without leaving any trace behind.
The process of filmmaking reminds us of Meteor. We all love watching movies, sitting in the dark, you escape from the reality for 2 hours and live the lives of someone else. However, we often forget the hard work behind the 2 hours of enjoyment. A movie takes years, or even decades, to complete; it’s comprised of the hard work of a big team of people. We want to pay tribute to the filmmakers through the design of this cinema, to remind the audience of the passion and effort these people have cultivated into their relatively short-lived enjoyment.
As you walk into the lobby, you will be stunned by a large-scale meteor shower in front of you. In the lobby, long rectangular-cuboid decorations extend from the ceiling, mimicking the motion of a meteor shower streaking through the sky. To enhance the three-dimensional vibrant atmosphere, the rectangular cuboids point at two directions. The designers had to adjust both on the computer and on set to make sure every piece is displayed at the right angle for the best overall effect.
An earth color scheme was adopted for the design. Instead of using wood, which would inflict fire regulations, aluminium was used in creating the decorations. These aluminium plates are coated with wood patterns and two different shades of brown to create a wood-like effect. The edges of the cuboids are slightly slanted; the meteor look as if they are falling very quickly with this sharper edge, creating a dramatic contrast between the fast movement of the meteor and the fact that it’s frozen and motionless in real life. Apart from the meteor shower in the ceiling, other features in the cinema, such as the signage and tiles on the wall, are also slightly slanted to match with the massive ceiling decoration.
As you go up to the second floor by the escalator, you can enjoy the best view of the whole meteor shower. It is an interesting experience to get closer and closer to the ceiling feature, as if you are heading into the meteor shower. Walking through the corridor to reach the theatre, you’ll find yourself walking in another form of meteor shower. The “meteor shower” transforms itself to flat rectangular shapes made out of stone, which look as if they are growing from the ground. The designers used this new object shape to illustrate another possible configuration of the meteor shower in a dynamic fashion.
The concept of meteor shower continues through the auditorium. In each of the auditorium, the designers have created a different portrayal of meteor shower, enabling the audience to have a new experience when they watch movie in different auditoriums. For example, rectangular decorations are installed on the wall to imitate shooting stars radiating in the night sky. In another auditorium, instead of going in a diagonal direction, the trails of the meteor shower are horizontal. There is another auditorium where regular seats are replaced by beds, enabling the audience to lie down comfortably and enjoy the meteor shower before the movie starts.
Through the design of the Meteor Cinema, the designers have created a sanctuary for the audience to get away from reality; from the moment they step into the cinema, they are in a completely different space. The cinema acts as a prelude of their experience with the movie, to prepare the audience for immersing themselves entirely in the movie world.
Instead of creating a meteor shower using light effects, the designers adopted the method of installing long rectangular cuboids as ceiling feature, pointing towards the ground from the ceiling, mimicking the motion of a meteor shower streaking through the night sky. With the restriction of fire regulations, the designers could not use wood to produce these cuboids. Instead, aluminium plates were used in creating these cuboids, with special treatment to add wooden patterns on top, making them look like real wood. The designeres made a total of 5 mock-ups of different shades of brown and different styles of wooden pattern before the final version.
Even after the adoption of aluminium as the material, the design of ceiling feature still conflicted with fire regulations because normal installation of sprinklers was insufficient in putting out fire. An alternative would be greatly increasing the number of sprinklers heads, but it would incur great cost. Luckily, our client really liked our design idea, and was willing to increase the number of sprinkler heads used.
In order to tackle the problem of uneven ceiling heights, a metal structure was installed below the slab, which made it possible to install the aluminium ceiling feature at the same height. It was also useful in hiding the electrical wires, tubes, air-conditioner openings, and everything undesirable to be visible to the customer.
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.
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