In 1988, the CINEART HOUSE was built in Hong Kong with investment from the Sil-Metropole Organization Ltd., and officially opened its screening business. In order to ensure its positioning as showing "Paracinema", the first hall was dedicated to purely Mainland films, while the second hall screened Japanese and European non-mainstream art cinemas. Fans of the art films like Love Letter, Postmen in The Mountains, or Hibiscus Town can find resonance here.
From an unknown small theater, CINEART HOUSE began to build a brand of art cinemas in the strong commercial atmosphere of Hong Kong films, becoming the pilgrimage of arty youth and film lovers in Hong Kong. many celebrities, including the last Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten, have been guests here。
Nevertheless, this niche cultural consumption places also fell into business crisis because of its "niche". In 2006, as the only art theater in Hong Kong, the closure of CINEART HOUSE even became a cultural sensation at the time.
Three years later, Film Arts was revived to bring a lost and found surprise to the movie fans until their lease expired and closed again in 2018.
After 30 years of development, the second closing of CINEART HOUSE also brought new opportunities for it. On precise insight into commercial space, Oft Interiors provided a brand new space design for CINEART HOUSE and introduced solutions that adapt to the current consumer market, so that the 30-year-old legendary cinema of Hong Kong can be revived again.
With the aggressive streaming media, traditional cinemas are facing a new business crisis.
But the fact is that online viewing can never replace the effect and atmosphere of cinema. According to the "2021 Generation Z’s Movie Viewing Preference Survey Report" released by 1905Film.com, cinema is still the first choice of offline entertainment for young people.
As an old school cinema, CINEART HOUSE must re-examine the current business environment if it wants to stand out from the modern commercial society. Compared with the past, subcultures are now prevalent and niche culture finally get to prosper with a spring in its step, meanwhile, the sense of offline experience has become an essential component of the commercial space.
The theater's positioning is very clear：providing art film viewing services mainly for niche groups. In 1990, the unusual old CINEART HOUSE had screened the longest-running film ever in Hong Kong —— "The Yen Family", which was on for 576 days in total, spanning three years. Obviously, the commercial strategy of mainstream commercial cinemas does not apply to CINEART HOUSE.
However, in the wave of commercialization, the old CINEART HOUSE must make breakthrough innovations in order to survive.
Therefore, in addition to operational strategic positioning, CINEART HOUSE must also reconstruct the value of user experience in terms of space design.
In Oft Interiors's view, with the rise of Generation Z, rejuvenation is an irreversible trend, and it does not mean pleasing young people, but evolving with users seriously, which is a rational move for the long-term development of the brand.
The new CINEART HOUSE is located in Kowloon City, a trendy place where young people gather.
What do young movie fans like as social network natives? How can CINEART HOUSE become a mobile lifestyle in the minds of users? Oft Interiors hopes to build a different cultural consumption destination in terms of imagery and context.
The case is inspired by the "camper van". More specifically, the inspiration is about the inherent connection between movies and camper vans ——they are both tools to travel from familiar scenes to unfamiliar places, and they allow fans to create a new shared memory together on this aimless journey to any end.
The project is located at the former site of Kowloon City Cinema, and as the only cinema in the vicinity, CINEART HOUSE has a unique advantage. Oft Interiors abandoned the original structure of the cinema and made a new plan in terms of layout and number of cinema halls.
At the same time, based on the positioning of the cinema as a place of cultural consumption rather than leisure consumption, the designers focused more on the movie watching itself instead of setting up more businesses to enhance the efficiency of movie watching.
The cinema is divided into ticketing area and cinema hall area.In the ticketing area, OFT design uses deconstructionist approach to establish a full set of new VI vision for "CINEART HOUSE". The completely open and barrier-free design makes the originally small ticketing area more widen, and the streamlined counter is like a camper, speeding towards unknown distant places.
In addition to the original space concept, the space recognition also comes from the collision of pale blue and bright yellow. The yellow evokes the understated blue to create high contrast, prompting a new vitality of the old brand, which is a bold and right attempt to save the mediocrity for CINEART HOUSE which values content and experience.
The grille lines on the wall and ceiling are collaged with different materials to build an artistic conception of distant mountains and light shadows with sparse and dense. The three-dimensional wall visually relieves the narrow of ticketing area and reveals the hidden scenery when approaching.
Besides color, lighting is also the focus of this design. The designer chose a high illumination light source, whose deliberately bright makes CINEART HOUSE different from the dark and ambiguous atomsphere of other cinemas, ensuring that it can quickly establish a new brand image and recognition among young groups.
The ticketing area is just a few steps away from the entrance of the cinema, and the designer uses display racks and signage to link the two areas. The display shelves can be used to place film peripheral products and to show the development of film art, giving the young the opportunity to explore and understand the history of Hong Kong cinema, hence, to build emotional links.
Due to the structure of the building itself, there is a height difference of 7 steps between the ticketing area and the cinema hall. The designers use irregular signage to guide consumers to the next unknown journey of movie-going.
Stepping into the cinema halls, the clashing colors of yellow and green are continued here. The designer uses happy aesthetics to remind movie fans to remove the armor of life and resurrect the ability to feel.
Since the clientele of CINEART HOUSE is relatively stable, Oft Interiors changed the old cinema from one large theater to three theaters, two small ones and a large one, which is in order to provide the best movie-going experience for both old fans and new young ones. The plan is also based on the cinema’s future brand positioning of focusing more on the community and operational considerations.
There are more than two hundred seats in the three halls. With the small size of the public area, the largest No. 1 hall entrance is set deep in the corridor to avoid appearing narrow, which can both divert the flow and ensure the sense of ceremony of movie viewing to the maximum degree.
The teardrop-shaped mirrored ceiling runs through the entire public area, which firstly solves the problem of low height visually, while the shape echoes the transparent roof of the camper van, as if opening it to explore the body to shout, and embrace with the wind and nature. It can wake up the feeling with space.
The cinema is the most interesting space not only because it is the ultimate destination, but also because when we watch a movie, we share the same time and space with others and are in our own personal spiritual world.
Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa once said, "When I watch a movie in the cinema and when others are laughing and I am also laughing, we become one. And when others are laughing and I am not laughing, the loneliness will strike."
Therefore, in the cinema hall, the designer used the round and juvenile semi-elliptical soundproof panel to create a gentle space to dissolve the feeling of loneliness when watching movies.
In addition to the cinema hall, there is also a bathroom in the closed space of the cinema.
From blue like lake to blue like sky, the designer completed the natural transition between the same visuals in the bathroom, with the suspended mirrors hanging down like curtains, making the closed space dynamic, as if it will move with the wind.
Conclusion: The rebirth of this legendary theater is a farewell to the past and the beginning of a new mission and journey. Although the former picture era is remembered, and the new CINEART HOUSE no longer has the shadow of the old days, we can still create memories in the new space. The 90s have fallen, and here, a new prologue will be opened for Generation Z.
Project Name: CINEART HOUSE
Project Category: Cultural Space
Project Owner: CINEART HOUSE
Services: Planning/Interior Design
Design Agency: Oft Interiors
Lead Designer: CM Jao / Ken Cheung
Design Team：Yoyo Au
Project Address: Hong Kong
Project Area: 970㎡
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Introduction of CM Jao & Ken Cheung
邹卓明（CM Jao）与张敬贵 (Ken Cheung) 先后毕业于香港理工大学设计系，二人在国际知名建筑与室内设计事务所的职业生涯中，积累了极为丰富的室内设计经验，同时具备国际化视野和开拓性思维能力。2013年创办Oft Interiors Ltd.，自成立之初，OFT便以打破规律之姿，为最复杂的设计挑战提供解决方案。
CM Jao and Ken Cheung were graduated from the department of design of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) successively. They have accumulated a wealth of experience of interior design in their careers in internationally renowned architecture and interior design firms, and meanwhile possess international vision and pioneering thinking ability. Since its inception in 2013, Oft Interiors Ltd., has provided many solutions to the most complex design challenges in a rule-breaking manner.
CM and Ken are skilled in analyzing and demonstrating the spatial logic of different consumption scenes such as commerce, shopping and entertainment, so as to design and catalyze more possibilities of space. Through completing "spatial innovation experiments" again and again, they promote the development of "experiential consumption scene" and reshape the unique genes and trends of the brand.
Their works of high-impact, atmosphere and dramaticism have been recognized by authorities all over the world, and their project has won a series of international top design awards around the world as well.
Introduction of Oft Interiors
"The boundary is not the cessation of something, but the birth of something new." Based in the creative capital of Hong Kong, known for its bold and creative design without defining any style，the Oft interiors' design focuses on the narrative expression of the space. They are committed to creating a unique surprise experience for consumers on a global scale.
As a pioneer of“experiential consumption scene”, the Oft has forward-looking insights and recommendations for the commercial consumption space, who is expert in integrating multiple dimensions such as consumer psychology, business trends and surprise experience. Through the sustainable operation of the brand, space and consumers, the Oft is able to create a strong brand potential for you.