Using Set Design Principles in Movie Theatre Design

Mike Cummings at CineAsia 2014, Hong Kong

MIKE CUMMINGS, TK Principal, presented at CineAsia University 2014 on December 10, 2014 in Hong Kong.

Presentation, titled: “Using Set Design Principles in Movie Theatre Design“.

In his presentation Mike Cummings talked about various ways of setting up the atmosphere with help of interesting design techniques at the cinema.

“Set design – what designers can do to enhance the experience…” – Read more HERE {Posted and photo by Patrick von Sychowski}


Presentation Transcript:

The Challenge before us is how we continue to raise the level of the movie going experience. I am going to introduce principles of set design that can be considered to achieve this result.

Ongoing innovation in the cinema industry continues to differentiate the movie going experience from other forms.  However, there is a real level of comfort to sitting in your favorite chair in your home environment.  But the presentation is not the same; as James Cameron recently said “I don’t care if they watch my movie for the third time on their smartphone, but the first time needs to be in the theatre.

Luxury seating and excellent customer service are a great start.  The success of premium large format venues reinforces the consumer demands for the highest level presentation and experience.

Designers can further enhance the experience by creating environments that provide unique and memorable experiences.  One of the ways we can do that is by considering set design principles., making the lobby a key component on the unique experience. Consider the lobby as more than just circulation and gathering- make it part of the show.

Returning to set design principles- first step is style. Create the style and atmosphere – realistic, abstract, expressive, minimalistic. Luxurious, contemporary, stylistic. Contrast the styles – traditional , luxurious but each has a unique style.

Set the mood and emotional tone – color, shape, rhythm of visual elements. For example sleek, contemporary, an event; contrasted with warm, friendly, inviting and communal.

Inspire a central metaphor, concept or theme. Examples are digital glamour and luxury inside concepts.

Focus customer attention and provide cues about specific activities and paths available within.  This can be achieved regardless of style, tone or metaphor.

Offer creative possibilities for movement, gathering and socializing.

Reinforce the experience through other scenic design elements like music and sound, lighting, furniture and props.

Further enhanced by considering flexibility in arrangement and organization to allow the creation of different experiences over time (much as set changes occur in theatre). They also provide new forms of socialization and participation.

Using a combination of these principles helps us create a whole new level of movie going experience.