cinema and media

Oz Seekers Breakfast Briefing on Digital Cinema

Stefanie Fischer recently hosted an Oz Seekers Breakfast briefing, at the invitation of John Sullivan (D-Cinex and Light Cinemas), on the opportunities and challenges presented by small digital cinemas.

Factors, key to sustainable cinema operation, that were discussed included creating a good and memorable cinema experience; reaching out to a wide cross section of the local audience across the age and social spectrum; appealing to 15-25 year olds whilst creating an environment older cinema goers feel comfortable in and creating a distinct identity that resonates with the locality, all in the interests of encouraging repeat visits.

Scala Cinema and Arts Centre, Prestatyn

Scala Cinema and Arts Centre, Prestatyn

Heritage Lottery Fund awards funding to Campbeltown Picture House

It has been announced today that the HLF have awarded £1,1m towards the refurbishment and remodelling of the Campbeltown Picturehouse.

One of the first purpose-built cinemas in Scotland, Campbeltown Picture House has provided the town with a centre of entertainment for the past 100years. From its origins in the silent movie days in 1913 through to the modern day and digital technologies the Picture House has provided an invaluable service to Campbeltown and Kintyre cinemagoers. As part of a three year project, its unique Glasgow School Art Nouveau design will be restored with new contemporary facilities added, including a second auditorium and a new café bar, so that it can operate as a sustainable community-based business.

A cultural hub for Kintyre, this much-loved building will then be able to screen films and live relayed performances of theatre, opera and music, and stage small scale drama, music and comedy.

Photo: Sarah MacDonald Photography

Photo: Sarah MacDonald Photography

Commenting on the awards announced, Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “Heritage is an ordinary word for something that is quite extraordinary.  The strands that weave the rich tapestry of Scotland’s history are too numerable to define.  Literature, buildings, industry, popular culture and wildlife are all an essential part of where we come from.  HLF is delighted to bring Christmas cheer to these presents from our past so that they can be cared for, enjoyed, learned from and celebrated well into the future.”

Jane Mayo, Chairman of Campbeltown Community Business, the charity which owns The Picture House, added the following “Magical fairy dust will certainly be sprinkled on Our Picture House. Now we shall be able to recreate the 1930s unique interior with the fantastic wee houses restored to their original glory, and all allied to 21st century comfort which is expected in a state of the art cinema today. The restoration of this nationally important building will add to the other recent and ongoing improvements in Campbeltown.”

Campbeltown Picture House to receive funding from Creative Scotland

Congratulations to The Picture House Campbeltown on the award of £433,000 from Creative Scotland towards the restoration and upgrading of the Listed Grade A cinema, one of the UK’s oldest.

Campbeltown Picture House, which first opened its doors in 1913, will be restored and a second screen and modern café and foyer area will be created. Burrell Foley Fischer have designed the refurbishment and remodelling of the cinema. Refurbishment will recognise and maintain the historic nature of the A listed auditorium protecting its cultural heritage whilst also meeting the expectations of a modern cinema going audience, enabling the cinema to increase the diversity of programming within this rural part of the West of Scotland.

Jane Mayo, chair of Campbeltown Community Business, said:

“The redeveloped Picture House will provide the local community and visitors with a magnificent historic cinema equipped to modern standards and complemented by new facilities. The programme of films and live relays of international quality cultural performances, together with activities based on the heritage of the building and the evolution of cinema, will allow The Picture House truly to become Kintyre’s cultural and entertainment hub. The reopened cinema will provide employment and play an important part in the promotion of Kintyre as a unique visitor destination.”

BFF appointed as architects for the Depot Cinema Lewes

We are pleased to announce that we have been appointed as architects for a new community cinema in Lewes to be called the Depot.

The three-screen cinema will be built on the site of the old Harvey's Brewery depot and will show feature and independent art-house films, as well as hosting events, exhibitions and festivals.  A cafe/bar and restaurant will provide space for filmgoers to enjoy a drink or a bite to eat before or after the film.

We are delighted to have been selected by Lewes Community Screen, who will build and operate the new venue and are looking forward to discussing our plans with the public at two consultation days on March 29 and April 5.

BFF appointed as architects for The Picture House Campbeltown

We are delighted to announce that we have been appointed as architects for the refurbishment and redevelopment of the Picture House, Campbeltown, on the West Coast of Scotland.

The Picture House is community owned and run, and is the oldest purpose built cinema in Scotland still showing films. It was established in 1913 and has now launched a "Centenary Project" to breathe new life into its historic building, which is Listed Grade A. The unique interior will be refurbished to bring it up to the standards expected of a modern cinema going audience, whilst respecting the historic building in which it is housed. Enhanced front of house facilities will be provided and the feasibility of a second cinema auditorium will be investigated.

BFF worked, with the cinema's owners and operators, on an initial scheme design that contributed to a successful first stage bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund. Following a competitive process, we have now been appointed to lead the design work for the refurbishment project. Through our long association with many independent cinemas throughout the UK, we are very aware of the importance of these venues to their local communities and we are delighted to be able to contribute to the future of such an historically important and much loved cinema.

Jane Mayo, Chairman of Campbeltown Community Business, said:       

"The Board of CCB is very excited that it has been able to assemble such an outstanding design team. The fact that such excellent specialists have committed themselves to this important project to restore and enhance our historic building, emphasises the importance of the cinema not only to its local community but also nationally within Scotland, the United Kingdom and even on the world stage."

Planning permission secured for Newlyn Filmhouse

We are pleased to announce that Planning Permission has been secured for the Newlyn Filmhouse.  The two-screen digital cinema, with a cafe/bar, will be created in a former fish store on the Coombe in Newlyn, Cornwall.

BFF have worked with the owners over the past five years to find a suitable site in the area for their vision of a new cultural cinema.  Externally the conversion will make use of existing large shuttered openings at ground and first floor level and retain the character and appearance of the building as a former light industrial building.  The internal design of the screens will take inspiration from venue's coastal location, whilst providing state-of-the-art digital projection facilities and comfortable seats.  

The film programme will include a wise range of independent and world films, feature documentaries, archive films and cultural activities, including live streamed events such as plays, opera, dance and exhibition openings.  The Filmhouse will compliment and enhance the existing cultural and commercial enterprises in the town, including the Newlyn Gallery and the Newlyn Art School.

Birks Cinema, Aberfeldy to open

The refurbished Birks Cinema is due to open with a Gala Screening this week, more than 30 years since it last screened films.  Burrell Foley Fischer designed the interior of the cinema screen based on a woodland theme, inspired by the Birks (the Birch trees) of Aberfeldy.

The Birks has been featured in the online culture and design magazine, Avocado Sweet.  Read the article here.

BFF Projects receive Arts Council Funding

Two of our projects, The Cambridge Arts Theatre and Broadway, Nottingham’s Media Centre, have been successful with their application to Arts Council England for capital funding for their redevelopment plans.

Cambridge Arts Theatre
Cambridge Arts Theatre will redevelop and extend its current impractical foyer facilities to provide new public entrances, a new box office and significantly extend bar and hospitality spaces. This will greatly increase the Theatre’s financial sustainability and resilience and provide an open and welcoming entrance for its audiences.

Broadway, Nottingham's Media Centre
Funding will improve Broadway’s facilities and resources to establish it as the lead centre for creative media in central England. The work will result in more efficient and effective use of Broadway’s existing building, focusing primarily on improvements to floor space on its lower ground level.

Visit BFF Projects as part of Open House London 2012

Once again it will be possible to visit a number of BFF's projects in London as part of Open House London.  There is a chance to visit the magnificent Grade I listed headquarters of the Royal Society in Carlton House Terrace, two of our cinemas Stratford Picturehouse and the Cine Lumiere in Kensington, and the Almeida Theatre in Islington. Open House takes place on 22 and 23 September.  Please visit their website for further details using the links below.

Stratford Picturehouse

BFF designed this purpose built four-screen cinema with exhibition, cafe bar and restaurant facilities.

Details of Open House - Stratford Picturehouse

The Royal Society

BFF were responsible for the refurbishment and remodeling of the Grade I Listed Nash building in Carlton House Terrace. 

Details of Open House - The Royal Society

The Almeida

BFF have been the theatre's architects since 1982, shortly after its inception, and have been responsible for the refurbishment and remodeling of the building, Listed Grade II, including a new extension.

Details of Open House - The Almeida

Cine Lumiere

BFF were responsible for the refurbishment of the Listed Grade II Art Deco cinema at the Institut Francais in South Kensington.

Details of Open House - Cine Lumiere

Broadway Nottingham featured in Guardian Cine-files

Broadway, Nottingham's Media Centre, is the latest of Burrell Foley Fischer's cinema projects to receive the Guardian Cine-files stamp of approval.  The cinema is described as having 

"an environment that is unique yet comfortable without trying too hard".

"I'm biased, having spent my entire life in Nottingham, but Broadway is probably the best cinema in the UK".

Read the full Guardian feature here

Harbour Lights, Southampton - The Art of the Process

John will this afternoon be conducting a tour of the Harbour Lights cinema in Southampton.  A landmark building, constructed in 1995, located in the former P&O docks.  The building was featured in 'The Art of the Process' exhibition at the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1993.  Colin Davies wrote the following commentary for the accompanying publication.

"On the face of it, a quayside in Southampton Docks is not the obvious place to put a cinema. Seaside buildings are traditionally outward-looking, with big windows from which to scan the distant horizon. But a cinema is essentially a windowless box. Cinema auditoriums are often embedded in the densly packed buildings of a city centre. Only the main entrance and foyer are visible to the passers-by in the street. Burrell Foley Fischer therefore faced two main problems right from the start: how to relate the spaces within the building to the surroundings, and how to give an isolated, windowless box a suitably elegant and eye-catching image.

The key to the solution of the first problem was the foyer. It might be impossible to relate the internal spaces of the auditoriums to their surroundings, but at least the foyer could benefit from the view of the sea, sky and boats. The practice therefore decided to place it on the side of the buildings facing the water. But is went further than that. In the absence of a well-defined public space such as a high street, the architect provided its own public space in the form of a raised platform sloping down from the foyer to the dockside. This could be used for street theatre performances and outside film screenings on summer evenings. In this way, the building would make the most of the positive qualities of the site and give something back for the public's benefit. Site and building would combine to make a new, special place.

The second problem - how to make a windowless box into a public building of public character - demanded a different kind of solution. What were the options? The budget for the building was too small to allow for any great complexity in the form of the building, and in any case the unusual ground conditions, which would require expensive piled foundations, suggested a simple, compact form with a small footprint. Perhaps this was just as well. Ocean Village, despite its romantic name, was a rather disappointingly low-key environment - a scattering of rather nondescript buildings surrounded by car parks. What is needed was a landmark. The regional film theatre might provide it, but it would have to be more than simply a plain box. The answer lay close at hand, in the boats moored in the adjacent marina, and in the memory of the big ships that once loomed massively over this quayside.

'If we have to accommodate the whole foyer under the rake of the auditoriums,' said a design team member, 'the ceiling could reflect the sensuous lines of a boat hull.' Immediately it became apparent that this was not only possible, but was doubly appropriate. The auditoriums were already boat-like in form. It was necessary only to emphasize this quality by exposing their undersides and allowing their forms to 'read' on the exterior. The result would look something like a boat that had been lifted out of the water on to the dockside. It would not be a literal copy of a boat, like an exhibit in a theme park; the boat image was merely a starting-point and an inspiration. But it solved the problem in a satisfying way. It felt right, and the details of the design team began to fall into place."

Exeter Picturehouse - Building in Context

Stefanie will this afternoon be conducting a tour of Exeter Picturehouse.  The building was featured in the joint CABE and English Heritage report ‘Building in Context – New development in historic areas’.  The article on the cinema ‘Enhancing a varied historic context through confident modern design’ is reproduced below.

"The Project

This scheme, designed by Burrell Foley Fischer, involved the creation of a two-screen cinema in the city centre of Exeter by adapting and extending a former 1930's bus garage that had been in use as a furniture warehouse.

The Site

The site of the cinema is on Bartholomew Street West, just inside the line of the Roman and Medieval wall of the city of Exeter. Its immediate neighbours include 1970s flats, a Victorian terrace of houses and modern sheltered housing but within a very slightly wider context lie good 18th and 19th century houses, a fine late Georgian chapel and a public open space. Not only is the site prominent by virtue of being on a ridge, it is also within an area that has been developed continuously from Roman times, where recent architecture shows some of the draw-backs of adopting a 'fitting in' approach, drawing attention to itself by its poverty of detailing rather than blending unobtrusively into the historic fabric.

The Problems

The problems involved finding an open and welcoming form for a building containing two blind boxes. The building needed to create a suitable presence on the corner of Bartholomew Street and Fore Street. It needed to accommodate the slope up from the front to the rear of the site. In terms of architectural expression, the building needed to find a language which embodied the client's aspiration for stylish modern architecture without disrupting the historic setting. Where different kinds of planning consideration were concerned, it was also necessary to assuage the worries of neighbouring residents about the possible noise nuisance. The physical constraints of adapting the building that already stood on the site also had to be coped with.

The Solutions

The architects decided to use the existing building to house the two cinemas called for by the brief, one seating about 170 people and one seating just over 200. They sit back to back with a shared projection room at first floor level.

To the south west of the cinema halls, the extension houses the foyer, lavatories, bar/restaurant and gallery space. The main entrance on Bartholomew Street gives access to a two-storey space, with a staircase leading up to the gallery and bar space clearly visible on the first floor. This can also be entered directly from a door at the back of the building, where the car park is situated. This gives a suitable sense of presence and drama to arrival at the cinema, within what is quite a modest extension to the original building. The entrances at two levels mean that disabled people can reach all parts of the building without special arrangements being needed.

In townscape terms, these spaces are made visible externally by large areas of glazing within a simple white-rendered form. The main entrance, which is slightly recessed from the line of the building, has the appearance of a proscenium arch over a stage and is topped by the name of the cinema in neon lights. This gives a particularly welcoming impression at night, when the cinema is at its busiest.

The long western elevation of the building, diminishing in height towards the back of the site, has windows which reveal the activities going on behind them and relate in size to the scale of those spaces and activities. A glazed slit from top to bottom of this wall adds to the impression of the main entrance as a proscenium arch.

This combination of modest theatrical gestures and straightforward simple details means that the cinema has a strong presence which is suitable to its function without intruding aggressively into its surroundings.

The design was considered in some quarters to be too modern in style, but careful negotiations with the planning authority led to approval and also resolved the concerns of the neighbours about potential nuisance. There have been no problems or complaints about noise since the cinema opened.

The Lessons

The commercial success of the cinema since it opened has vindicated the cinema operator's belief in the contribution which architecture can make to commercial success. In the words of Lyn Goleby of City Screen 'The bricks and mortar are as important as the celluloid'.

Architecturally, the cinema demonstrates that it is possible to be theatrical and modern and restrained all at the same time. It illustrates that a difficult site can provide the solutions to design problems if it is approached imaginatively. It also shows that a use which is initially seen as threatening can come to be regarded as a socially highly desirable facility."

The History of Cinema City, Norwich

This afternoon Stefanie will be conducting a tour of Cinema City in Norwich as part of the RIBA Love Architecture Festival.  The conversion to a three-screen cinema in a Listed Grade I building, Suckling House and Stuart Hall was completed in 2007.

The earliest known activity on the site of Suckling House and Stuart Hall is a ditch, discovered during archaeological excavations, below what is now the courtyard. This was cut before the Norman conquest in 1066 and probably represents a boundary ditch at the western edge of the Anglo-Scandinavian town, which was centred on a market place at Tombland.

Properties were recorded on the site as early as the 13th century but it is believed that the oldest surviving parts of the building date from the 14th Century. This was a period of great prosperity for Norwich as Queen Philippa, wife of Edward III, had established a colony of her fellow countrymen, Flemish weavers, in the city. Its role as the chief centre of the wool weaving industry led to Norwich being the second city of the kingdom for much of the medieval period.

c. 1926
In the mid 16th Century the property was purchased by Robert Suckling, Mayor, Sheriff and Burgess in Parliament. He made substantial alterations to the buildings and renamed it after himself. The centre of the house was, as it remains today, the Great Hall, with its scissor brace and crown post roof. Here apprentices would have lived with their masters, owners of the house, and eaten meals with the family in the hall. However such a building was as much for ostentatious display as for private living and provided almost a salon environment for the interaction of the principal members of the Suckling family with their Norwich peers. Music, dining and conversation were all possible, precursors of similar, but more democratic, 21st Century functions.

In the 18th Century there were further substantial alterations to the building, with the conversion of the St Andrew's Hill elevation to a six bay Georgian House, five of these bays survive today. Throughout this period the main house remained in use as a private residence.

Cinema City as a single screen
By the early part of the 20th Century, Suckling House had fallen into disrepair and was sold to Ethel Mary and Helen Caroline Colman. Under the guidance of the architect Edward Boardman, they restored the house and built Stuart Hall on the waste ground beside it. The combined properties were opened by the Duke of York (the future George VI) in 1925 and then bequeathed to the "Mayor, Alderman and Citizens of the City of Norwich" with the desire "that the place should be used for the advancement of education in its widest and most comprehensive sense".

In 1977 the building became a single-screen cinema and the Regional Film Theatre for Norfolk and Norwich.  The conversion to a three-screen cinema in 2007, under the direction of Burrell Foley Fischer secures it future.  It was presented with the 'Sir Bernard Feilden Award' for "excellence in alterations and restoration of a historical building" by the Norwich Society.  

Following redevelopment to a 3 screen cinema

The North Wales Society of Architects Summer Lecture

Stefanie will be giving the Summer Lecture for the North Wales Society of Architects this evening, at the Scala Cinema and Arts Centre in Prestayn, as part of the RIBA Love Architecture Festival.  She will discuss the redevelopment of the Scala and our wider work over thirty years in the Cinema and Media Sector.

The building which currently forms the Scala Cinema and Arts Centre, began life as the Town Hall for Prestatyn in North Wales.  It opened in July 1900 and within ten years began screening films.  In 1913 James Saronie took over the building and converted it to a full time cinema, showing the first colour film in 1915.  Saronie’s real name was James Roberts, but he changed it to Saronie as he felt that was more impressive in his work as a cinematographer.  In 1930, following a major refurbishment, the cinema screened its first ‘talkie’ and then three years later hosted the North Wales premier of the classic monster movie King Kong, with queues reportedly extending halfway up the high street.

Queuing for King Kong 1933
In 1963 Saronie ended his career, selling the Scala to Prestatyn Urban District Council, later to become Prestatyn Town Council.  The following year the building’s fascia and arches were covered with a ‘modern’ blue and green frontage and it continued to operate as a cinema until December 2000, when it was forced to close for safety reasons due to a deteriorating structural condition.

The 1960's facade prior to the 2009 refurbishment
In 2001 the ‘Friends of the Scala’ were set up to lobby councillors and get the cinema re-opened. Two years later Burrell Foley Fischer were commissioned to prepare designs for a two-screen cinema with community facilities, a visual arts gallery and a café bar.  By 2007 funding was finally secured with supporters including Denbighshire County Council and the Welsh Assembly Government.  Councillor Paul Marfleet stating that “the Scala Arts Centre project plays a pivotal role in the regeneration of the town”.

The facade today
In February 2009 the refurbished and remodelled cinema and arts centre was reopened to the public.  It has been recognised with a number of awards including the RICS Awards Wales 2010 Community Benefit Award a Civic Trust Award 2010, National Panel Recognition and the Wales Action for Market Towns Awards 2011, Social and Community Category Award.

Norwich Cinema City featured in Guardian 'Cine-files'

Cinema City in Norwich is the latest cinema to be featured in the Guardian's regular 'Cine-files' review section.

"Cinema City provides a community for Norwich film lovers in a beautiful setting."

Burrell Foley Fischer completed a major refurbishment and remodeling of the Grade I Listed medieval hall house and attached assembly hall in 2009, transforming it from a single to a three screen cinema.  We are delighted that it continues to thrive, and as the Guardian feature demonstrates, is loved by the people of Norwich and Norfolk.  

"Cinema City feels like stepping back in time to the beautiful art of cinema."

Stefanie Fischer will be conducting a tour of the cinema next Thursday, 21 June, as part of the RIBA's Love Architecture Festival.  Read full details here.

BFF 30th Anniversary - Love Architecture Festival 2012 - Celebrating BFF's Cinema Architecture

Over our thirty years BFF have become one of the acknowledged leading architecture practices in the cinema and media sector.  In June, Stefanie Fischer and John Burrell will be giving tours and lectures at some of our most popular cinema buildings.  The events will be part of the RIBA's Love Architecture Festival 2012, which will involve a range of events across England and Wales to bring architecture alive through walks, talks, tours, exhibitions, films, children’s activities and more.

Scala Cinema and Arts Centre, Prestatyn

On Wednesday 20 June Stefanie will be giving a lecture on the development of the Scala Cinema and Arts Centre in Prestatyn, hosted by the North Wales Society of Architects. 

The Scala was opened in 2009, bringing access once more to film on a site with strong local memories of cinema-going and helping to revitalise the town centre in Prestatyn.  In addition to a dedicated 150 seat cinema it provides a 150 seat multi-use auditorium suitable not only to cinema exhibition but also performing arts, dance and exercise classes, fairs and markets.  

Cinema City, Norwich

Stefanie will run a tour of Cinema City in Norwich on Thursday 21 June, which will be followed by a talk by Jon Greenfield, the Chair of the Norfolk Association of Architects, and a screening of A Single Man.

In 2007, Cinema City, the Regional Film Theatre for Norwich and Norfolk, secured its future by redeveloping from a single-screen cinema to a three-screen venue.  The cinema, Listed Grade I, occupies a converted medieval hall and an adjoining 1920s hall.  Excavation created the space for additional screens below a main screen similar in size and capacity to the previous single screen.  The refurbished café bar and restaurant is located in the medieval hall and its courtyard.

Click here for details of the Norwich event

Exeter Picturehouse

On Friday 22 June, Stefanie will lead a tour of Exeter Picturehouse.  This will be followed by a talk by Professor Robert Brown, Head of Architecture at the University of Plymouth, looking at the image of the architect in film, followed by a screening of the classic film The Fountainhead.

The two-screen cinema is housed in a converted 1950’s warehouse on the edge of the central conservation area in Exeter and on a prominent approach into the city centre and opened in 1997.  The foyer and a café bar have been accommodated in a new extension, which animates the previously blank flank to the warehouse.

Harbour Lights, Southampton

John will run a tour of Harbour Lights in Southampton on Saturday 23 June, which will be followed by a talk on Southampton’s new Cultural Quarter and arts complex, and a screening of Inception.

Harbour Lights, is a landmark building in the former P&O docks, providing two auditoria for film and video exhibition and conferences, an exhibition space, a café bar and education facilities. 

We have curated a gallery of our favourite images of the cinema published on Flickr.

Cinema SilhouetteCinemaIMG_9325Harbour Lights Picture HouseHarbour Lights Picture HouseHarbour Lights Picture House
Harbour LightsArt-house Cinema365-120077_wd_IMG058Harbour LightsSouthampton Harbour Lights
Harbour LightsHarbour Lights Picturehouse IMG_3853 The artsHarbour Lights CinemaCinema Night HDRHarbour Lights Cinema

BFF 30th Anniversary - The Lux Cinema

The Lux Centre Cinema, the home of the London Film Makers Co-op, opened in Hoxton in September 1997.  At night, the two-way projector cast images onto the screen as well as into the square outside. Slate floor-tiles spilt onto the pavement, and video pits on the floor of the foyer showed obscure one- minute films by local multimedia artists. Still in the foyer, a glass- panelled alcove flowed down from the ceiling like a waterfall. Engraved on the panes a photographic image of the ruched curtains that used to adorn traditional cinema screens. The seat in the middle was reserved for the proverbial kissing couple in the back row. 

The Lux was not just an arthouse cinema, it was also intended as a cut-price centre for experimental film-makers. The auditorium had a flat wooden floor with removable seats for multimedia and live performances, music and dance, conference and film production. Acoustic panels along the walls rotated 180 degrees, to reveal frosted glass windows when natural light was required. Editing suites and hi-tech equipment were available to hire, and the gargantuan windows of the gallery on the first floor exposed the interior. True to the tradition of this working-class area, it was a state-of-the-art cinema that served a functional purpose. 

Unfortunately the rapid regeneration of Hoxton led to rent prices more than trebling and this became a key factor in the eventual demise of the LUX as a venue based organisation in 2002.

BFF 30th Anniversary - Renoir Cinema

The facelift of the former Gate Bloomsbury was completed in 1986 within just seven weeks and, on a budget of £80,000.  Notwithstanding the tight budget the scheme successfully evoked the feel of a French Art House and attracted a loyal cinema going audience.  The decoration incorporates cream walls with a curve free pattern in dark grey.  The bar has a black laquer finish, mirrors and the carpet was designed to reinterpret the entrances to 1930’s French apartment buildings. 

There was insufficient budget to readdress problems arising from the twinning of the original single screen however new seating was installed in light blue velvet and the front of house areas improved.  The strong graphic identity for the Renoir is used to mark the entrance through a Miesian box on the forecourt to the Brunswick Centre.  This has proved to be an inspiration to photographers and we have curated a collection of our favorites published on Flickr.     

Renoir CinemaRenoir Cinema, Brunswick CentreRenoir Cinema, Brunswick SquareRenoir CinemaRenoir Cinema at nightRenoir cinema
Renoir Cinema, WC1Renoir Cinema, BloomsburyThe Renoir cinemaRenoir CinemaRENOIR CINEMARenoir Cinema, Brunswick Centre
renoir cinema bloomsbury londonRenoir cinema<3 Renoir #Cinema #londonThe Renoir CinemaLondon snow: Renoir cinema at The BrunswickRenoir Cinema

Sunday Times reports on the 'real cinema' movement

An article in yesterday's Sunday Times "Culture" magazine reported on the 'real cinema' movement, using the analogy of the 'real ale' campaign.  They noted that rather like those who "turned against the chemical horrors of 'keg' in the 1970's", there is an increasing "demand for real local cinemas, and that people really do want to go out for their films, but preferably not to an out-of-town multiplex".  The article explains how the smaller independent cinemas provide an alternative to the "cold alienation of the multiplex" by using "town-centre sites and an 'event' style, including proper restaurants and bars".

Amongst the example cinemas cited are three designed by Burrell Foley Fischer, Broadway, in Nottingham, the Kino, in Hawkhurst, Kent, and Cinema City, in Norwich. BFF has specialist knowledge of the film sector, underpinned by 30 years experience working for independent cinema operators, regional film theaters and community arts cinemas. 

One of the screens at Broadway, featuring sofa style seating
Broadway was a phased development around a client in occupation of a building that started life as a Methodist Chapel and was converted into an Educational Co-operative Building in the 1950s.   Facilities provided in early phases of development include a new cinema for film exhibition and conferences, a refurbished 1950s auditorium for film exhibition, edit suites for film and video production and training, and broadcast-standard studio, a café bar, front-of-house accommodation, administrative offices for Broadway and like-minded organisations, educational facilities, seminar rooms, and creative media start-up units.

The Broadway bar
The final phase of the centre’s development provided two new screens and a multi-media lab that allows Broadway to exploit the potential of digital media.  A glazed elevation opens up the frontage to communicate more effectively Broadway’s engagement with film and media and provides improved foyer, social and conferencing spaces.  The project was awarded the Lord Mayor of Nottingham’s Award for the best adaptation of an existing building 1997 and an Adapt Award 1998.

The entrance to the cafe bar