The best part of movie theaters is usually when the lights go down. Not so for the new Cinéma UGC Vélizy 2 in Île-de-France’s north-central area Vélizy-Villacoublay. Thanks to Paris-based Atelier d’Architecture Lalo, the 143,000-square-foot complex is as much a draw as any superhero extravaganza.
“I thought about a spaceship bringing us elsewhere, out of gravity, to the stars,” says founder Jean-Marc Lalo. “Cinemas are massive concrete boxes, linked by hanging streets. I thought about the contrast between light and heavy elements.”
All that thinking resulted in a faceted ceiling of baffles between steel columns, angling into view above concrete balconies and benches that nod to classic cinema amphitheater seating in the 18 screening rooms. A monumental neon installation is another blockbuster touch.
“The ceilings are exploded,” Lalo says, “with split white surfaces that receive color through spotlights, as if time were stopped.” Or as if the ceilings were silver screens themselves.