Project: Meteor Cinema | Design: One Plus Partnership Limited | Location: Guangzhou, China | Photos: One Plus Partnership Limited & Jonathan Leijonhufvud
Meteor Cinema literally elevates the spatial experience of being in a cinema. Located in a shopping mall in Guangzhou, movie-goers can attest that stepping foot into this 2-storey cinema can well transport them some place out of the world – more specifically into the galaxy. For Hong Kong-based architectural firm One Plus Partnership Limited, that’s precisely the experience that they were going for.
Inspired by meteoric occurrences, One Plus has infused an awe-inspiring twist to what is expected of cinemas. “The process of film-making reminds of a meteor,” says the design firm. “A movie takes years to be completed; it is comprised of the hard work of a big team of people.” For Meteor Cinema, the designers wanted to pay tribute to the filmmakers through the design of this cinema, to remind the audience of the passion and effort filmmakers have cultivated into their relatively short-lived enjoyment – which is akin to witness a meteor shower.
“A 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 firm explains further. “In order to capture the movement of a meteor shower, the designers have constructed scenes in the midst of a meteor shower in different styles, which can be found throughout the entire cinema.”
Throughout the cinema, scenes of meteor shower in different forms and features were constructed to capture the movement of a meteor shower. For starters, upon entering into the lobby, visitors are greeted by a long rectangular-cuboid feature that drops down 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 explain. “We have repeatedly adjusted the length and direction of these cuboids both on the computer and on set, to ensure that every piece is displayed at the right angle for the best overall effect. To create a sense of movement, the edges of the cuboids are slightly slanted. The meteor shower looks as if it is falling very quickly with this sharper edge, creating a dramatic contrast with the fact that the ceiling feature frozen and motionless in real life.”
The overall palette features an earthy tone with subdued glitz to create an atmosphere of elegance. For the ceiling feature, aluminium was used in lieu of wood as it would pose to be a fire hazard. However, to maintain that woody hue, aluminium plates were coated with wood patterns in two different shades of brown.
To ensure visual continuity, linear and oblique elements in the forms of the signage and tiles on the wall were also incorporated to complement the ceiling feature. “The stainless steel signage showing the auditorium numbers look as if they are flying towards the audience, echoing the motion of the ceiling feature,” the designers say. “Here, the meteor shower is transformed into flat rectangular shaped-stones in the corridor, which look as if they are growing from the ground. We also used this shape to illustrate another possible configuration of the meteor shower in a dynamic way.”
Following this concept, the meteor shower feature spreads through the rest of the auditorium space. “To surprise the audience, a unique portrayal of a meteor shower can be found in each auditorium, e.g. different styles of wall decorations are installed; seats are replaced by beds for the audience to lie down and enjoy the meteor shower before the movie starts,” the designers add.