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Big Cinema, Small space

A home cinema with seating for ten, expertly engineered into a regular sized room

Big Cinema, Small Space

Brief

The estate agents details listed the room as a "Cinema" but in real terms it was just a room with a large screen and some speakers. We were asked to create a room that justified the desciption. There needed to be space for ten people to watch a movie or sports event in comfort without being cramped and for it to feel a really special experience from the moment you walk into the room.

Design

The key to the project was getting ten seats into the space (just 4.3mx3.7m) with enough room around them so that there was still a feeling of spaciousness. Reclining leather seats from Ferco ticked all the boxes and with a carefully designed platform for the second row, we were able to ensure that everyone had the space they needed. There is room for the both rows of seats to recline with plenty of space to get to each seat.

Acoustic treatment is important in any room but especially in a small room to reduce unwanted reflections and stop the room from feeling enclosed. The correct treatment allows the audio elements of the design to perform at their best and make the room feel like an open concert hall or intimate club exactly as the producer intended.

The experience in the room is not just about the audio and video; the interior decoration and lighting plays a big part. The acoustic panels add to the theme of the room along with a mural depicting seating extending on behind the actual seats, creates a real sense of space and occasion in the room. An automated blackout blind and four lighting circuits were installed with fittings from Orluna and Collingwood. The coloured LED strip lights in particular add to the whole experience and were used to good effect during the Rugby World Cup where the team’s country colours illuminated the room before their various matches!

You can learn more about how we did it in a free webinar. “Big Cinema, Small Space: How To Do It” which was recorded in conjuction with Wildwood PR and Meridian Audio and can be found by following this link.

Equipment Choice

The room boasts a 5.1 audio solution with the key front three channels provided by Meridian DSP520 in-wall speakers and the rear and sub channels provided by KEF. We use the DSP capabilities of the Meridian room correction and centre channel elevation to enhance the audio performance still further. Acoustic treatment is a mix of diffusion and absorbtion panels on the ceiling behind a stretched fabric cover and Artnovian decorative panels on the walls.

Video is provided by a Sony 4K projector and a 16:9 fixed screen. The 16:9 ratio was chosen to make best use of the available wall space and match with expected use of the room for sports events as well as movies.

The room is prevented from feeling 'stuffy' though the use of a ventilation system driven by a Soler & Palau low noise high throughput fan.

All of this is controlled simply with the Control4 automation system which extends more widely into the home beyond the cinema.

Result

As soon as you walk into the room it feels special. The acoustic treatment makes the room feel calm and the lighting and decor work together with the AV system to make the experience special every time you sit down for a truly immersive movie experience.

I just wanted to drop you guys a quick note to say wow. Wow!! Our new cinema room is utterly fabulous. I must confess I was wary of the idea of squeezing a proper cinema concept into a relatively small space. I thought the visuals could be overwhelming and the acoustics virtually impossible. The design you adopted, and the equipment specified is sheer genius. The experience is totally immersive, and I love the fact that we can hear the subtleties of speech as well as the jaw-dropping, through-body bass when needed for action etc. One of the big surprises for me is how much music we are listening to - the hi-fi reproduction is superb. I thought the room was going to be an over-the-top luxury, used on relatively few ‘movie night’ occasions, but am happy to say you were right in your prediction we would use it a lot more than expected. It’s our go-to for not just movies but boxsets, music concerts and even regular scheduled TV. It is indeed a luxury, but rapidly becoming an everyday one! Many thanks for engineering an absolutely fabulous bonus addition to our new home.
— Mr and Mrs G
Glastonbury
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