For centuries, the indoor-outdoor garden pavilion has been a traditional venue for Chinese plays. The concept gets a contemporary interpretation at Premiere Cinema, an eight-screen movie theater in Wuxi, China, by 4N Design Architects. The city’s Taihu Lake is a popular destination for residents and tourists alike, so principals Danny Ng and Sinner Sin designed the 70,000- square-foot project to channel its natural setting. In the lobby, polished concrete flooring recalls still water at night, and even captures the reflection of an enormous “moon” overhead. The 16-foot-diameter form was rendered in fiberglass, craters and all, using a mold generated from a 3-D model based on the actual moon. “We built it in slices,” Sin says, describing the process of fabricating small sections one at a time at a studio off-site.
After artisans used pigments to touch up the color and texture, the pieces were then trucked to the cinema and mounted onto a steel frame. Light cast upon it from LEDs adds a celestial glow. Elsewhere, materials were selected for their acoustic properties as well as their ties to nature. Granite panels backdrop a series of digital movie posters, which are in turn set within a frame of warm pine slats. “It’s like a romantic drive-in theater,” Ng adds. “There’s a full moon all day long.”