Julian Taylor Interview: Cinema Design
Cinema theater design is a whole other world. Nowadays, going to the cinema is a totally different experience to what it was 10 years ago. Gone are the days where going to the cinema was merely a time pass. It has transformed from shabby seats and stale snacks to an immersive experience, a place where you spend hours with your friends. Cinemas are changing the entertainment game and we’re watching. We sat down with Julian Taylor, from Julian Taylor Design Associates. Julians team is based in the UK have completed casinos, bars, restaurants, cinemas, retail stores, hotels and clubs all over the world. They really do know what they’re doing. So we thought it would be a good idea for Mansionly to reach out and get some insider insight into this world.
Good morning! We’re so pleased to be able to sit down with you today and get some insight into your world of cinema design.
You have completed some pretty impressive cinemas over the past few years. Why did you decide to start focusing on cinema designs?
We focus on all areas of hospitality and this one came up and we jumped at the idea as there is a need to move cinemas away from what they are to an entirely different experience where people can fully enjoy the space, more than just a place to watch a movie. We loved the concept of having a full dine in experience while going to the movie cinema, a place where you can order a delicious meal and get waited on at your seat. We were intent on giving the end users a whole new experience when going out to watch a movie.
Obviously with a cinema there are a lot of technical requirements and specifications that needs to be accounted for. How do you balance function and design there?
There’s a lot of technical requirements with all design projects in any sector, there are many things that you need to account for. Somethings you have to think of is proper signage, people need to be able to make out where everything is without searching. A vital thing we have to dois to make the large areas feel like individual spaces where the user can enjoy. The person coming to watch the movie is stepping into a dark, confined space, so we need to make them feel comfortable in all areas of the cinema space, large open spaces can be overwhelming and uncomfortable. Good lighting is one of the most important things we have to take care of. If you go to the cinema in the middle of the day, it’s very bright outside, then you step into the cinema space and it’s dark, in a matter of minutes you’re in a completely different environment. We need the transition from day outside, to dark inside to be a smooth one as cinema is a very controlled environment where the user slows down and focuses, we need to make it easy for them.
These days going to the cinema isn’t just about watching a movie. It’s about going out to a restaurant and eating, a place where you can socialize with your friends and where you feel like you’re in another world. Are there any rules you stick to, to make sure that the end-user gets the experience they came for?
Cinemas need to transition from the traditional movie experience to a high street one, a place where people can get dressed up and enjoy a night out at the movies. First thing when designing a cinema is the entrance, how the initial step into the cinema space will make the users feel. Just like when designing any other spaces, it’s the first impression you give the user when they walk into the space, so we have to make sure we make the right one.
What’s the 1 rule you absolutely stick by when designing cinema spaces?
We always aim to be innovative and exciting, put the glamor back into going to the movies.
What’s the most challenging part when it comes to the execution of your designs?
It’s always a challenge to remain focused on understanding the market you’re in and making sure you understand the customers needs.
How does this differ from doing other projects in the f&b/ hospitality sector? Is it a completely different ball game?
It’s very similar to F&B projects, especially because cinemas are moving away from just movies. We have restaurants and bars on site which are essentially their own thing, but because the way the cinema world is heading, they are all intertwined and work together as one.
What’s been the cinema project you most enjoyed doing?
In Boston we did a very cool project. A high-end restaurant and cinema. It has a very boutique customer bases and the client wanted something tailored to the high end clientele. The client was very sure on what their clients needed and wanted. So they were very open to pushing the boundaries
Last one, then we’ll let you go, any tips for aspiring cinema designers you can share? As you are a master in this field.
Rely on core principles. Everything you do has got to be innovative. Don’t be afraid of any brand and don’t be overwhelmed by the technology.
Thanks a lot for sitting down with us. We look forward to our next chat with you!