Jinyi Cinemas Guangzhou Haizhucheng IMAX, nicknamed “Meteor Cinema,” is a two-story cinema located in a shopping mall in Guangzhou. The process of filmmaking inspired the One Plus Partnership, Ltd. design team to think of a meteor shower. A movie takes years to complete; it is the result of the hard work of a large team of people. The designers wanted to pay tribute to filmmakers through the design of this cinema, reminding audiences of the passion and effort filmmakers have cultivated for their relatively short-lived enjoyment.
After finalizing the theme as “meteor shower,” the One Plus Partnership designers faced a challenge when deciding the form of representation of the theme. Most existing designs with a meteor shower theme have made heavy use of lighting effects, so finding a totally new way to present the concept was a challenge.
The execution of the design concept was demanding as well, requiring skillful workmanship to create the unprecedented installations. It was also necessary for the design team to make the absolute right choice of materials and production method and ensure clear communication with the construction team to achieve an accurate portrayal of their design in the final product. They succeeded in following 95% of the rendering proposal at the “Meteor Cinema.”
In order to capture the movement of a meteor shower, the designers constructed scenes in the midst of a meteor shower in different styles, which can be found throughout the cinema. In the lobby, long rectangular decorations extend from the ceiling, mimicking the motion of a meteor shower streaking through the sky.
To enhance the three-dimensional vibrant atmosphere, the rectangular shapes point in two directions. The designers repeatedly adjusted the length and direction of these shapes both in the design phase and on site to ensure that every piece would be displayed at the right angle for the best overall effect.
To create a sense of movement, the edges of the shapes are slightly slanted. The meteor shower looks as if it is falling very quickly, creating a dramatic contrast with the fact that the ceiling feature is frozen and motionless in real life.
Instead of using wood, which would violate fire regulations, aluminum was used to create the ceiling feature. The aluminum plates are coated with wood patterns in two different shades of brown to create an elegant wood-like effect.
One of the challenges in constructing the ceiling feature was the differences in ceiling height from room to room. In the lobby of the cinema, part of the ceiling is five meters high and part is eight meters high. The significant difference in the heights made the installation difficult, it was particularly challenging to make the ceiling look as if it has a uniform height.
Apart from the ceiling feature, other treatments in the cinema, such as the signage and tiles on the wall, are also linear and oblique to match. The stainless-steel signage showing the auditorium numbers look as if they are flying towards the audience, echoing the motion of the ceiling feature.
The “meteor shower” is transformed into flat rectangular shaped stones in the corridor, which look as if they are growing from the ground, to illustrate another possible configuration of the theme in a dynamic fashion. The concept continues through the auditoriums, where each houses a unique portrayal of the meteor shower theme. The seats have been replaced by beds so the audience can lie down and enjoy the meteor shower before the movie starts.
Through the design of “Meteor Cinema,” One Plus Partnership has captured the visual of a short-lived meteor shower and presented it as a timeless installation, while simultaneously raising the bar for cinema design in mainland China.
"A movie will have a hard time following the captivating spaces at Meteor cinema. I image that first-time visitors who enter through the shopping mall are taken back with the stellar integration of architectural design and wayfinding details."
"A shower of extruded signs as well as sculptural wood and light elements rain down in this Guangzhou IMAX theater. The resulting positive friction of the graphics make the interior architecture and finishes shine even brighter."
"An audacious and boldly confident expression of typographic sculptural forms that beautifully integrates with the architecture and interior design."
Ajax Law (design director), Virginia Lung (design director)