by Irina Kobzeva-Pavlovic
TK Architects’ Sr. Principal Jack Muffoletto was interviewed at CineEurope tradeshow in Barcelona, Spain earlier this month. His interview then was featured in a June 22, 2018 article by Spanish publication Cinestel “TK Architects revoluciona el concepto de diseño de sala de cine” (TK Architects revolutionizes the design concept of cinema)… In it, Muffoletto explains the recliner seating upgrades benefits for movie-theaters among other cinema-design specific topics.
For full article, please refer to the English transcript below and visit Cinestel: http://www.cinestel.com/tk-architects-el-concepto-de-diseno-de-sala-de-cine/
TRANSCRIPT/TRANSLATION FROM SPANISH:
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TK Architects revolutionizes the design concept of cinema
June 22, 2018 INDUSTRY ZONE
The current trend is for movie theaters to become unique places where you can watch any movie with friends, family or the rest of the audience. This preference will mean that maybe in a very short time we will stop seeing spaces as standardized as up to now, to be able to go to singular courtyards that imply in themselves a pleasant experience for the spectator.
We will continue then, watching those films that attract us the most, but it will also open the opportunity to choose which will be the space in which we most like to stay, especially in the segment called entertainment. The preference for being in one or another room will be conditioned to the type of design that we find in them, so that the pleasure for the place will be added or combined with the movie buff.
There are already in the market architectural firms that have specialized in offering services to the owners of any location enabled for the projection and viewing of films.
Surely that transformation is going to be implemented in a slow and progressive way, but nevertheless it is possible that little by little we will be realizing that the rooms we go to are not going to look like each other. The arrival of these architects with functional and decorative ideas has only just begun.
And since this change is going to be slow, the look is now focused on providing the existing seating structure with extra functionality, which is easy to use, and at the same time useful and comfortable.
TK Architects is an American company of architecture, engineering and interior design that has specialized in what is the theatrical auditorium and in its physical environment: ticket office, lobbies, restaurants, waiting areas and hallways to access the rooms, and even the external appearance of the building that houses the cinema.
Its architects come from different parts of the planet, with which they intend to favor a unique perspective in the world market to be able to adapt in an appropriate way to the tastes and idiosyncrasies of the local populations.
Jack Muffoletto leads the team of designers of this international firm and went to Barcelona to present at CineEurope the product they are currently seeing the most: a comfortable recliner seat that combines features that until now have been little or nothing seen. The electronic seat model they presented has two buttons on the inside of the right armrest; one is to recline the backrest and the other is to climb a front platform that comfortably keeps your feet up.
Very affable, Muffoletto answers the questions of Cinestel in this interview while sitting, we tried this new product for theaters:
– What lines of work does your company have?
We have two lines of operation. One of the companies is dedicated to designing all the interiors of the cinemas with what they are furniture and equipment, and we have local vendors in different parts of the world who are in charge of selling that material that could be seen in CineEurope.
We contacted them because together we were working on the same projects and we had to collaborate so that those seats like the one you are now sitting on fit into the cinemas. And those would be the two parts of our work, the specific design by local and the specific products.
– In fact, you are architects dedicated exclusively to this topic, is it true?
We are architects who want to make sure that the size of the rows of a cinema is appropriate for the seats to fit in that space and that the electrical outlet for the automation of the chair to work, is available, knowing that they are usually many seats in each room and therefore all that electrical flow must be coordinated.
But if you are sitting in this chair and you look at the screen, you will have to be able to see that image without something that interferes that vision. Because if you sit down and you see the head of a person sitting in front of you cover a part of the movie, that means the architect did not do a good job. Therefore, with this chair that we have presented at CineEurope, it is particularly difficult for that to happen, because your head moves forward and backward. And when your head goes backwards, when you recline the back of the seat, we have to design everything in such a way that that person who is sitting in front of you is totally out of your field of vision of the image of the film.
It is very difficult to make that happen, but there is a whole science about it and at the end of the day it means making a new art.
– And how should be an armchair placed in front of us so that I do not bother the viewer who sits in front?
It can be located directly in front of you. All we have to do is calculate the appropriate height. But first of all is that you have a correct distance in your front and that even when your feet are up, people can go through there walking, or in an emergency. You must have left enough space for people to pass from the beginning.
Therefore, the first thing is to make sure that there is enough space for everything between the rows and that at least there is a gap with the previous row that corresponds more or less to half its height so you can see the scenes.
So, all this depends on the size of the room and even the screen that is on the opposite wall, because that screen can not be too small or too large for what is the local. So, we have to determine where the lower part of the screen will be so that all the people in front and behind you can see it correctly. So, we have to value all those things to make sure that everyone will have the correct field of vision they need to be able to see the image completely from bottom to top.
– Do you prefer to design for small movie theaters or for large ones?
Notice that wherever we have installed these reclining seats, the number of seats per room has been reduced within the auditoriums. Therefore in a large cinema that could gather about 300 people regularly, with these electronic seats we almost reduced the capacity by half, with some 156 seats. But still, that’s a nice size too. And the screen is still wonderfully broad.
– But each cinema has a different size and there is no standard with concrete measures that work for everyone.
There is not, but the way the films are contracted and counting the premiere periods for weeks, what happens is that after a week of the premiere of a film, usually fewer people are coming to see that film. That is, many times, when you fill an auditorium of 300 seats, many people will not see it again at another time and it is the case that it is the first week when people come. For that, you need the 300 seats. What happens is that with a smaller audience, what you would do is prolong that time in two weeks or maybe more time. There are also films with more audiences that will surely need larger auditoriums.
– I am not the only one who believes that in some cases the seats located just in front of the screen are usually rejected for having to tilt the head too much. Do you think that your solution of reclining the backrest can be a great idea for that area of the auditorium?
Absolutely. We use formulas that tell us how close you can put those seats with respect to the screen. It helps a lot when you have these reclining seats and the front viewer can tilt your body backwards. But it is also true that when you have a room and a very large screen, that first row should be somewhat away from the front. There are many architects and builders who would like to do so, but the exhibitors do not like that.
© José Luis García / Cinestel.com