For a private theater to deliver a truly sensational experience, both form and function must be embraced in its design. Much has been said about the “home theater experience,” and many profess the ability to deliver it. A manufacturer will claim that their product is the answer, while an engineer will point to his ability to provide performance, and a designer will emphasize the importance of the décor. Though systems and engineering are key components and cannot be dismissed, without equal attention to form we cannot have an unparalleled private theater experience.
WHAT MAKES A GREAT-LOOKING THEATER?
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then designing a beautiful home theater is truly a subjective goal. That is why we must discover and reveal the objective of our client’s imagination by asking “engaging” questions and then listening closely to their answers.
The successful home theater designer will not compromise the performance of the room to achieve better aesthetics. This is where creativity and imagination may be challenged. For example, in a typical room, a wall might be adorned with art. In the theater application, however, the wall may require specific acoustical treatment and non-light reflective surfaces. Aesthetically, it would be unacceptable to leave the space blank, but the art often detracts from the performance. A creative theater designer can truly excel in such situations by modifying the art or creating an architectural acoustic detail that adds interest and performs the function.
UNDERSTANDING THE INTERIOR DESIGN
The interior design process involves several steps including concept creation, review, revision, development and documentation. Concept creation begins with the discovery process. We find the theater interior has taken some form even during our functional design process if we have done a good job of gleaning information from our client. Once the functional design is developed, then we design the decorative shell that will be seen
Presentation of the concept allows our client to review our design ideas and provide feedback. As a private theater designer, we must embrace our client’s feedback and be open to suggestions. It’s better to modify ideas on paper or the computer than with wood and plaster!
THE REAL WORK BEGINS
Although it may seem like the design is finished, the work has just begun. It is at this point that the development of the design is undertaken.
A professional theater designer will work out the details in every application, from millwork, to equipment mounting, to fabric attachment, lighting and more. There are many areas which could be problems unless the designer knows how it is all going to work together. The designer will lean on many subcontractors and suppliers for information, but manufacturer information needs to be integrated into the design to ensure successful implementation.
Historically some designers have placed the details in the hands of the suppliers to work out the details. We have found it prudent to supply an interior plan, reflected ceiling plan, all wall elevations, sections and details for all interior construction and applications so that no detail is left to chance.