Milan Cinema 

This project was based in Milan, for a client who wanted a cinema for his headquarters, based within his own company office. 

Although a relatively small area of 3.5m x 5m, it certainly made up in complexity in both AV requirements and construction with an emphasis being placed on sound proofing because it was in the heart of a working environmentof mainly designers who needed to concentrate and not be distracted by noise, as the cinema was also required to show company promotional campaigns as well as for private viewing. 

The second obstacle was that this cinema needed to be in the words of our client " a visual work of art ", as this needed to be seen from outside the room as a reflection of the overall design conception of his " lifestyle" hence the glass front wall. 

This was a perfect model for Cine Italia Design Ltd to engage with one of its new partners based in Verona to employ its new acoustic cinema set up that it has been working on with Cine Italia Design Ltd for the last year.  A new sound proofing system which has been developed as a room, within a room set up, a system that not only produces amazing sound proofing results, but also provides excellent thermal and fire proofing insulation for all the surfaces of the cinema with the same soundproofing product system in the ceiling / walls and floor. 

This was the perfect project to demonstrate the qualities of the system and the fact that it was made to measure system for quick, lightweight and easy construction, which allowed us to construct the cinema overnight, leaving the internal fit to take place the following day with the AV set up seamlessly being co-ordinated and installed at the same time. 

The beauty of this being, the whole cinema was set up and pre-constructed in our factory and simply brought to site for assembly without the fuss and aggravation of an onsite construction.  The result was the least amount of onsite time constructing and a hugely reduced onsite labour costs and of course any unwanted mess. 

This pre-factory assembly also allowed the AV to be pre-set up at the same time.  For example the speakers were cut into the correct positions, holes drilled for cable runs, projector location plate pre-set etc.  The same applied for the lighting set up, all sockets, switch points and lighting position pre-cut ready for quick and easy assembly. 

Once the unit had all its pre-set locations cut and marked, the whole cinema was dismantled and taken to site. 

When the basic construction was assembled including the double glass section wall, the interior fit was able to take place.  Prior to the furniture going into place, the second fix of the lighting and AV took place.  

One of the beauties of this cinema system is just how clean and quickly the project can come together when everything has been pre-set, tested and designed and implemented to the millimetre. 

This new cinema soundproofing system should be available in the UK by the end of this year.  More development tests are currently being carried out through the summer. 

As this cinema needed to be viewed from the outside, we decided to use recording studio quality glass walling with double sliding unit door entry / exit from our sound recording specialists in New York to overcome this problem with a 250mm cavity between glass walls.  During filming to absorb reflection, we used an automated black out roller blind which was double sided and core lined, running between channels which omit light transmission. 

The attention to detail was exacting.  We worked with our clients design studio to create the hand painted silk panel walling down both flanks.  This created a stunning feature to the cinema, but at the same time we softened the whole design by using a colour pallet that was both rich, deep and sophisticated, using as its base olive greens and slate greys but muting the tones of these with mainly black to work within the cinema set up. 

The cinema seating was from Cine Italia Seating "Lusso" range, where we took a velvet which was colour matched exactly to the mural background, which we hand dyed.  This velvet covered the inner seat panels of the Lusso chair and daybeds, leaving the back and outer panels to be finished in Italian Nubuck in a soft stoney beige texture.  A sample of the Nubuck was sent to Nepal where it was colour matched for the handmade silk carpet. 

Between the walling colour and the colouring aspect of the Velvet, Nubuck and Silk Carpet, it took over four months to finally set up and sign off the colour swatches before going into production. 

The glass pendants are hand blown from Murano and the agreed glass colour was used to pattern match the sound system speaker faces of a burnt bronzed patina finish. 

The bespoke unit housing the base and amplifiers was constructed from thin strips of bronze with a slightly hammered face with acoustic fine mesh metal inner panels. 

For the front and back walls, we used the olive velvet from the Lusso's inner seat pads and stretched it across both walls, allowing colour continuity through the design. 

One of the final touches were object d'art of fossil trees to make up the side tables, which naturally linked to the "Pantera" Silk Mural.  These objet were personally chosen and required a trip to Asia to locate them specifically for this project, along with Rock Crystal objet continuing a "natural" theme, which are situated on the front cabinet.  

For the AV design and installation of this project, we teamed up with Toliva, a highly respected AV company.  This is what Darryn Jacobs (Tolivas MD) had to say regarding this project:-

This recent Milan project for Cine Italia Design Ltd, we were challenged to specify a cutting edge system where no compromise could be accepted in performance but which could still fit perfectly into the Interior Design Scheme.  Coupled with the latest developments in both picture and sound performance, we knew that we would have to look at some newer brands to help us meet the client brief. 

Following discussion with Cine Italia Design Ltd, it was decided that the system should be optimised for Dolby ATMOS.  This format offered by far the largest amount of native content and has a fantastic up-mixing system for other sources.  Cine Italia Design Ltd also expressed a desire for 4K laser projection which implied that we would need to deal with HDMI2.0 and HDCP2.2 content. 

Our first equipment choice was the Acurus ACT4 audio processor.  We had been surprised by the performance we heard during a demo and after investigating found that the unit supported ATMOS and DTSX formats and the new HDMI formats but importantly was able to apply the Dolby DSU upmixer to DTS pr PCM content for perfect playback from our ATMOS speaker layout. 

Speaker choice was harder.  The object based audio systems have placed a new challenge on system design where vertical imaging and panning is almost as important as horizontal.  This means the old ideas of controlled directivity are having to be rethought - you can't have a super tight vertical dispersion as found on horns or line source speakers and still get that vertical effect.  Ironically dome speakers are optimal for this new reality, as long as they can deliver on dynamics...This led us to the American brand Induction Dynamics. 

Induction are part of the large MSE Audio Group and have a huge number of patents and technology covering their products. Everything is made in house from cabinets to drivers and a special focus is given to easy integration.  The Induction Dynamics ID1.iw was chosen for front LCR.  This is effectively a high end three way speaker and powerful sub bass system integrated into a single 10cm cabinet.  Massive power handling coupled with their "Wide Angle Dispersion" technology delivered exactly what we were looking for.  Matching surrounds and subs were the obvious choice for the rest of the system. 

As the Induction Dynamics speakers are a passive design, we still had a healthy budget available to provide the highest quality amplification to the system. We decided on the Aragon amplifier range which came from the same parent company as Acurus.  These are very high end Hi Fi amplifiers with just a crazy output of over 600W into a 4 ohm load.  The speakers love this type of power allowing us to deliver the huge dynamics normally found in active speakers but with the delicacy and control normally only found in the best hi fi systems. 

Moving on to the video section, it was an easy choice to go with the new Barco Loki which is a 4K laser DLP.  We have always been keen on the sharpness and brightness of DLP systems and with extreme requirements of the HDR standard this model was the only one that seemed to come close to delivering on both brightness and colour saturation along with all of the HDMI requirements. 

The final element was the screen.  The design called for a 2.40 aspect acoustic transparent screen with side masking.  After looking at samples from most other suppliers, we noticed that despite the claims, there was a clear loss of sharpness visible with 4K material due to texture on the fabric.  Barco suggested we looked at Display Technologies, a new UK based screen manufacturer, who they had just chosen for the demo room of their residential experience centre in Belgium.  The AT Ref fabric sample supplied was really pretty incredible with flatness better than some solid screen samples we had looked at.  When we investigated we were further impressed by the advanced control system used by the screen and finally, the option of having an art work panel to help the integration of the screen in to the space made it and easy choice. 

Both Cine Italia Design Ltd and out client were extremely impressed with the service and expertise of Toliva and the overall product choice which ultimated in an amazing " Cinema Experience".

Normally all of our sound systems are hidden behind acoustic walling, even the screen is very rarely on show and more often hidden behind automated walling.  In this case, the client wanted the sound system visible, so that we had a juxtaposition between the technical and aesthetic designs. 

This cinema has delivered impact and subtleness, a sophisticated cinema room where the technical world of AV sits comfortably and harmoniously, embracing the fine artistic world of Italian Design.