Interiors Awards 2013: Entertainment
Pixel Box is by no means the only cinema in Wuhan, China, but it is the most avant-garde movie house in the city, presenting drama before the show even begins in the auditorium. The 95,000-square-foot cinema, designed by Hong Kong–based One Plus Partnership, houses a grand hall, concession counter, leisure area, bookshop and, of course, 11 auditoriums for different audience types and a capacity range of 26 to 241.
According to the designers, Ajax Law Ling Kit and Virginia Lung, the design concept derives from pixels, the smallest element of a picture represented on a screen. They say, "Our design is founded on the idea that films are composed of images which are formed by the continuous movement of tiny pixels." That relationship between movement and pixels is a fundamental element of the design and prepares cinemagoers for the imaginary world of movies.
To create the sensation of moving pixels, the designers used cubic units of different sizes and textures. The entrance, for instance, welcomes guests with a feature wall decorated with huge cubic beams protruding from the wall in an undulating fashion. Cleverly, the projections at the top of the wall spell out the name "PIXEL BOX." Beyond the undulating cubic protrusions is the theater's Grand Hall box office. This box office rotunda space is surrounded by some 6,000 pieces of stainless steel panels. As visitors wander through this glittering hall, the panels reflect their movements, creating an interesting interaction between moviegoers and the box office. "The reflection of light over the mirrored stainless steel in the curved envelope enhances the infinite atmosphere and sense of spaciousness," the designers say. "All the panels are in various sizes and custom made, requiring careful and precise onsite measurement."
Past the entrance zone, the concession and leisure areas feature cubes of different heights that form transaction counters, food display cases, serving counters, seats, and tables. Underneath glass tabletops, LCD screens present the latest trailers. The cubical design element continues to dominate elsewhere in the cinema: square blocks are used as display units in the bookshop; every lavatory stall is deliberately built at varying heights with yellow-toned mirrors to emphasize geometry; the marble seats in the middle of the hallway are made of undulating rectangular blocks; and even the upholstered wall and carpet feature custom square patterns. The plentiful variations and exquisite presentations result in a vivid and playful atmosphere, making the cinema a collection of three-dimensional pixels.
Apart from the extensive use of square blocks to represent the pixel form, the designers were meticulous in their selection of colors and materials. According to them, gray is the predominant color because it is synonymous with high-tech style. Nevertheless, some warm colors were injected sparingly, such as olive green and yellow in the carpets and seats, as well as on the seating inside the auditorium.
With the intention of making this cinema one of a kind in the city, the designers explored different ways to incorporate form, function, and fantasy in a spacious interior. Their creativity and boldness are no less than that of a great filmmaker.
Interior designer: One Plus Partnership.
Interior design project team: Ajax Law Ling Kit; Virginia Lung.
Contractor: Beijing Qingshang Architectural Ornamental Engineering Co.
Graphics: One Plus Partnership.
Masonry wall: Beijing Qingshang Architectural Ornamental Engineering Co.
Flooring: Beijing Qingshang Architectural Ornamental Engineering Co.
Upholstery: Century Union.
Reception desk: custom.