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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Storytelling via Design

By Ar. Vinita Wagh
Photography: Courtesy One Plus Partnership
Read Time: 3 mins
“Xian Insun Cinema design One Plus Partnership indiaartndesign”
Xian Cinema(inset)l-r:Virginia Lung & Ajax Law

Renowned for curating graphically remarkable and experientially transformative spaces, Hong-Kong based design firm One Plus Partnership transfixes users as they give form to the abstract…

Since its inception in 2004, the firm, founded by designers Ajax Law and Virginia Lung, indulges in a variety of projects, their cinema theatre designs especially surprising and unsuspecting – unlike any other. With almost 40 such projects completed across China; Team IAnD correspondent, Ar. Vinita Wagh makes the duo relive and review their journey of designing powerful storytelling experiences. Excerpts from the interview:

“Changsha Insun Cinema One Plus Partnership indiaartndesign”
Changsha Insun Cinema
“Changsha Insun Cinema One Plus Partnership indiaartndesign”
Changsha Insun Cinema
“Changsha Insun Cinema One Plus Partnership indiaartndesign”
Changsha Insun Cinema
“Changsha Insun Cinema One Plus Partnership indiaartndesign”
Changsha Insun Cinema

IAnD: What got you started in cinema theatre design?
OPP: From the beginning, our projects have centred around theme-driven design - making them truly original and never-seen-before. Cinema design as a genre provides us with the space to showcase our creativity and we’re hopeful that people appreciate the ideas our interior designs express. With every project, we introduce new, innovative elements that promise to stun.

“Wushang International Cinema One Plus Partnership indiaartndesign”
Wushang International Cinema
“Wushang International Cinema One Plus Partnership indiaartndesign”
Wushang International Cinema


IAnD: How does the entertainment industry in China influence your design approach?
OPP: China’s fast-paced economy and the film industry’s rapid growth is escalating the demand for movie screenings. The increasing concentration of cineplexes even in smaller cities makes this genre extremely competitive. To build a unique brand and attract audiences, the cinema houses aspire to innovate. They look to us to create, rather than just emulate what exists.

“Shanghai omnijoi Cinema One Plus Partnership indiaartndesign”
Shanghai Omnijoi Cinema
“Shanghai omnijoi Cinema One Plus Partnership indiaartndesign”
Shanghai Omnijoi Cinema


IAnD: How does the ‘movie-going experience’ play a role when pursuing a theme?
OPP: Each theme calls attention to the local elements, movies or the cinema brand, the idea unifying all the spaces. One Plus’s designs aspire to create experiences instead of mere subjects, attracting people and prompting interaction with the space. For a theatre project in Xian’s family-friendly mall, we added playground elements to configure the interior, calling both children and adults to indulge.

“Shunde Jinyi Cinema One Plus Partnership indiaartndesign”
Shunde Jinyi Cinema
“Shunde Jinyi Cinema One Plus Partnership indiaartndesign”
Shunde Jinyi Cinema
“Shunde Jinyi Cinema One Plus Partnership indiaartndesign”
Shunde Jinyi Cinema

IAnD: How do you deal with the scale of spaces, elements and the users?
OPP: We strive to infuse the theme within the smallest detail, addressing function and aesthetics. The lobby’s large volume best showcases our creativity – dictating the design while the remaining spaces echo it through custom lights, seating, etc. Extra thought is given to sound effects, light projection and safety requirements.

“Wushang Zhongyuan Cinema One Plus Partnership indiaartndesign”
Wushang Zhongyuan Cinema
“Wushang Zhongyuan Cinema One Plus Partnership indiaartndesign”
Wushang Zhongyuan Cinema

IAnD: How do you draw a line between ‘too little’ and ‘too much’?
OPP: Our designs are abstract, subjective in their perception. Often, the beauty of the design lies in the sheer space the elements occupy. The budget too plays a role in its making; there is often a negotiation between the two. While some outcomes aren’t as visually impactful if the quantities are lowered, in other cases, the opposite is true.

“Xian Insun Cinema One Plus Partnership indiaartndesign”
Xian Cinema

IAnD: What are the challenges of such dynamic and unconventional designs?
OPP: Our teams play a big role – the clients who understand our designs and business model, the leadership that forms the backbone of our process and the contractors who execute. Experimentation and collaboration are pivotal, pursued with utmost conscientiousness.

“Nanjing Omnijoi Cinema One Plus Partnership indiaartndesign”
Nanjing Omnijoi Cinema
“Nanjing Omnijoi Cinema One Plus Partnership indiaartndesign”
Nanjing Omnijoi Cinema

The firm recognizes the entertainment and media industry as an intrinsic part of society, the people’s perception of the cinemas instrumental in their approach to design. Their signature defines a seamless design, unrestricted to one surface, where the theme percolates to every single design detail, the design negotiating with the scale of spaces, elements and users. The lobby’s large volume dictates the design, resounding even through the ancillary spaces - a focus on coloured patterns, layering of elements, lighting, sound, seating and safety.

One Plus’s cinema designs instil a sense of vibrancy and wonder, celebrating the brilliance of the art, in perfect alignment with their resolute design philosophy of offering something new with each design.


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