The Blitz-CineStar Arena multiplex in Zagreb
The 180,000 square metre Arena Center that recently opened in the south west of Zagreb is the city’s largest shopping centre. Its centrepiece is the futuristic Blitz-Cinestar Arena cinema, a multiplex that is unique in the region. The cinema operator Blitz-Cinestar already owned two multiplexes with twenty-four conventional theatres in the Croatian capital, but by opening the third it wanted to do something radically different. A major contribution to this innovative project came from the expertise acquired by the practice Marco Rodda Associates, which had previously designed ten multiplexes for the Blitz-Cinestar chain. The idea behind the new multiplex was to create a complex that would cater for different social classes by offering different cinema-going experiences. Alongside seven standard theatres there are also two Golden Class theatres and one Imax theatre (the only one anywhere in the former Yugoslavia). The total capacity is around 1,800 seats. The difficulty that this project posed for architects and interior designers, explains architect Marco Rodda, was to bring these three different kinds of theatre together seamlessly in a single complex while differentiating their images so as to make them immediately identifiable. The solution found was to design furnishings and finishings in the smallest detail, harmonising consistently the colours and specific atmospheres of the three areas. In the eight metre high entrance lobby, together with the ticket desk and the bronze mosaic backdrop, there are two key elements: the wall covering consisting of large-format porcelain sheets with a Corten finish from Ceramica Sant’Agostino, and the light that reflects from these surfaces in a range of colours filtering down from shaped ceiling elements backlit with RGB LEDs. From the lobby, sumptuous corridors carpeted from floor to ceiling lead spectators to the individual theatres. The entrance to the Golden Class area is distinguished by a glass door and a golden concierge desk with a bronze mirror backdrop. This leads to the luxurious lounge with comfortable sofas and the bar counter clad with gold mosaic. The walls are graced with large-format ceramic tiles displaying floral motifs and ribbed patterns finished with gold leaf. The two Golden Class theatres each have just forty fully-reclining high-comfort armchairs arranged in pairs on either side of a central table. During screenings a waiter is at hand to take food and drink orders. The Imax theatre is also preceded by a lobby that reflects the region’s aesthetic tastes. On the floor and walls, various shades of ceramic tiles alternate with mirror claddings. Shafts of blue light intersect with the vaulted roof beams and Zeppelin-shaped light diffusers float in the air. The 460-seat theatre is equipped with cutting-edge technologies developed by Imax (hence the name) and a gigantic 24.3 x 13.7 metre screen (a total area of 333 square metres). This allows for 3D effects that have to be experienced to be believed.
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