Showing 1 - 25 of 195 comments
theatreofvarieties: Just spotted your IMAX conversion photo uploads; thank you so much for this!
(Not that I “like” seeing the work done to “Screen 1,” as it were; but to me, it’s extremely interesting—e.g. the “ribbed” ceiling steelwork.)
Wonder why the coloured concealed lighting operates monochromatically on “one circuit,” when from your photos it appears that it doesn’t have to? (I complained about this after the first public screening, and was informed that “we can programme the lights to do whatever we want.”)
The tiles seemed to be one set stuck on top of another? A little confused by your photo showing the CIC/UCI paint? Do any remain hidden behind new “false” walls (possibly on the left side of the “stalls”?) or were they all stripped?
theatreofvarieties: Thanks for the correction! :–)
Auditorium and facade photos.
Auditorium (same picture) and foyer photos.
Another picture of one of the main auditoriums—towards the screen—picture 10.
Auditorium looks good, looks like a “redecoration” (i.e. the wall coverings/carpets/seating.)
Looks like the main tabs have been kept, although they’re open in that photo.
A comment on the first page linked notes that the seats aren’t staggered, resulting in sightline problems.
The second foyer photo (featuring “Square Pie”) looks absolutely hideous and is completely inappropriate IMO for a cinema, as well as being substandard for a premiere site. The hanging lights aren’t even of the same length!
Not too keen on the facade either but better than the mess that it had become and the quality of the finishes look to be of a suitably high standard.
The “heritage” aspect only requires elements such as the ceiling to be kept and the overall form respected, as has been the case with previous refurbishments. It still allows scope for their “house” style/branding to be imposed.
If they take over the Icon bar, then depending on the scope for chopping and change the internals, they could reconfigure by moving the vestibule staircase forward so that the bar integrates with the rest of the foyer area. I would hope for something special but if a major reconfiguration occurs then I suspect none of the 1960s “heritage” elements will be left. :–(
theatreofvarieties: Good news! They had better respect the heritage of the foyer though (and, IMO, keep the fibre optic “starfield” lights from the late 1980s refurb.)
(N.B. The Icon bar extends onto the balcony on the LSQ frontage. Therefore, it is on the same level as cinema’s foyer, adjacent to the starcase leading to screens 7-9.)
Correction to my previous post on the planning permission timeframe for the replacement roof: The respective building control entry on Westminster Council’s website notes that this has been completed. Having a look at Google Earth (i.e. the full-featured PC software rather than http://maps.google.com/) and comparing to “historical imagery,” the clearly “patched” appearance is no longer there, and so this would appear to be the case.
FanaticalAboutOdeon: A comprehensive conversion could of course not be justified in all cases, but at the same time, too many were clearly very inexpensive and were also ill-thought out.
For example, this one:
Odeon Harlow – “Urban Exploration” photo
I cannot see any purpose in the rear “corridor” seats, other than to frustrate those patrons with no other seating option given a full house, nor the two rear surround speakers on the “corridor” sidewalls.
(Maybe I am rather naive about the “purpose” of the rear seats, as this could be ideal for those wishing to engage in activities other than watching the feature?!)
This is perhaps an extreme example, but there were too many which ended up with odd seating arrangements, off-centre projection and screens angled away from the seating.
Combined with poor quality interiors the overall impression was of a “fleapit.”
More recently, many of those less than ideal conversions which still exist have, at least, been refurbished to at least provide reasonable interiors.
An application to Westminster Building Control has been submitted in relation to the “Empire Casino,” dated 2nd March 2017, for a “full refurbishment to all floors;” of potential relevance here, “including… first floor balcony works.”
External alterations may require a planning application, so we shall see…
rasLXR—Indeed white is not ideal but I’m not sure how this could be changed without seriously compromising the design? “Low reflectivity” specialist paint in a slightly off-white colour? Thinking about it, the splay walls should really all covered in white stretched fabric over acoustic absorption…
Regarding black, many “black box” auditoria with wall-to-wall screens fail in my view as one always feels as though one is in a cinema watching a screen hemmed in by the side walls and ceiling, instead of a “view into” another world.
FanaticalAboutOdeon—I agree with your comments on the “streamline moderne” Odeons. That “house style” is, to this day, respected and iconic for good reason.
My personal opinion on “ornate” fibrous plaster modellings is a very negative one indeed!
I will add, though, that many of the Odeons were subject to very poor subdivisions, and particularly those later under the control of the likes Coronet were subject to very poor maintenance, with auditoriums badly repainted, etc.
Mike Blakemore: As I’ve mentioned on this site before, my Father was an architect (Project Architect on numerous multi-million pound commercial buildings including in the entertainment/leisure sector) and, at a distance, just who in a practice was responsible for what is frequently unclear.
The RIBA published a book on a practice he had worked for—he had been involved with the design of one of the buildings therein but his name was misspelt (!) and his colleague with whom he had worked on the project was not mentioned. There were numerous other errors, too.
There are many other factors but suffice to say, whilst “house styles” of cinema chains and architectural practices are sometimes evident, I would be cautious over trying to assign credit. I suspect your complex history is in reality somewhat more involved!
moviebuff82—Regarding increased security, I attended a preview screening at VUE Westfield London (Shepherd’s Bush) yesterday and they were doing bag checks.
Of course this is “security theatre” not least since there is no such screening in the foyer nor for the mall’s very large atrium area adjacent… etc.
It seems that VUE Westfield London do have infra-red CCTV in the auditoria with live videos of such being fairly prominently displayed at the corridor entrance leading to the auditoria.
The planning permission for the replacement roof over the OLS was granted on 1 October 2014 and work must commence within 3 years of this decision or Odeon will need to go through the applications process again.
Whilst this is a “rubber stamp” matter, no subsequent planning application is shown on Westminster’s planning applications database.
If the refurbishment is to be started this year, then it seems likely that it will happen before October.
Come to think of it, what’s needed is more steeply raked seating in the front stalls.
BTW, here is a very high-resolution scan of the old OLS “cut-away” diagram:
Great news, hopefully!
From the Variety article: ““It’s impossible to think anyone would object to what we have planned for Odeon Leicester Square,” Aron said, adding that the upgrades would improve the site while retaining its character.”
Hmm, “impossible to think anyone would object”—maybe I’m being paranoid, but that sounds slightly omninous!
The Empire conversion and VUE West End refurb came in at around the £5m mark, so £10-15m sounds very extensive.
The large IMAX screen was only possible in the Empire by a hair’s (or roof truss'!) breadth.
I imagine there is some scope for increasing the screen size within the existing proscenium provided the rear stalls are removed—possibly in part for the additional toilets mentioned in the Variety article?!
FantaticalAboutOdeon—Re. reclining seats at the Empire—the same type of seats are installed in the “IMPACT” screen and they do recline. I don’t think there’s enough space in the IMAX screen because it’s using the original 1928 circle steppings.
As for the “iSense” brand—the OLS already is “iSense”… if you sit towards the front!
“A £6.6 million investment will see Vue’s West End venue […] offer guests the choice of fully reclining leather seats […] all other seats will be ‘VIP’ and have been designed to be super spacious, with extra room to stretch out and relax. […] There will be a total of 1,385 VIP and luxurious reclining seats. […]
“*Dolby Atmos installed in two screens […] all screens will also benefit from […] Sony 4K digital projection.
“retail offer with two new hot food concessions – Square Pie and Pizzeria Maletti – as well as a complete redesign of the foyer and existing bar area. A 62.7m² digital screen will also be installed on the exterior of the building.”
Surely the “IMPACT” screen? The auditorium (from the plans) looks to be about 22mx18m or so, with a high ceiling, whilst Screen 2 is about 18mx13m?
The Licensing Application is up on Westminster Council’s website, no. 17/00626/LIPVM.
From it, here are the new seat counts:
Auditorium 1 68 standard / 22 VIP / 9 Luxury/ 99 Total / 1 AccessibleAuditorium 2 57 standard / 12 VIP / 10 Luxury / 79 Total / 1 AccessibleAuditorium 3 121 standard / 24 VIP / 10 Luxury / 155 Total / 2 AccessibleAuditorium 4 121 standard / 24 VIP / 10 Luxury / 155 Total / 2 AccessibleAuditorium 5 229 standard / 48 VIP / 20 Luxury / 297 Total / 4 AccessibleAuditorium 6 120 standard / 20 VIP / 10 Luxury / 150 Total / 2 AccessibleAuditorium 7 229 standard / 48 VIP / 20 Luxury / 297 Total / 4 AccessibleAuditorium 8 89 standard / 26 VIP / 8 Luxury / 123 Total / 2 AccessibleAuditorium 9 138 standard / 30 VIP / 9 Luxury / 177 Total / 2 Accessible
All auditoria 1172 standard / 254 VIP / 106 Luxury / 1532 Total / 20 Accessible
Works mentioned in the application include:
-Front box office removed.
-Ground floor concessions counter to be removed and replaced with two counters on the side walls.
-Changes to first floor lounge including new seating and refitted bar.
-Managers' office converted to a ‘Green Room.’
No significant internal changes are shown on the plans, so I would assume the ‘refurb’ of the auditoria will be ‘cosmetic,‘ with the same (or similar) sized screens etc.
Hello cinemasimon—I’m assuming you the person who posted an incredible number of pictures of the OWE ‘behind the scenes’ on Flickr?!
A ridiculously obsessive project—I love it. :–)
Albeit the fact that the original ceiling of the Leicester Square Theatre wasn’t removed and was crumbling away, down onto the top of the 1960s auditorium false ceiling, was rather worrying!
I’m confused—why would the council be responsible plans for the basement screens?
Thanks for your reply.
Water damage—I noticed stains on the ceiling?
Something like the patchy area in this photo:
Regarding Pepsi Max signage, has this been removed from the seats in the IMAX auditorium as well?
davepring: Excellent news!
Bet they ditch the tabs though. :–(
Peeling paint/paper on the foyer ceiling? Where is that?
I always thought the red covering on the foyer ceiling was felt.
I also noticed the broken fibre optic lighting. It’s nearly 30 years old now, maybe repair is out of the question?
It’s sounding all too much like Cineworld are treating it as ‘just another venue’ rather than a flagship…
If soundproofing is installed, even if the cost is not bourne by the developer, they may require access to the residential units on the first floor. Whilst they could avoid installing soundproofing by pressuring Curzon into surrendering their lease (i.e. Curzon may just decide they don’t want to face the mounting costs of potential litigation), the risk is that they would end up with very high costs themselves. Which doesn’t sound like a cunning scheme dreamt up by a greedy developer—but, hey, what do I know?
I’m afraid “the law is an ass”…
I have now found the planning application, Westminster Council reference 13/03290/LBC.
It turns out that the upper floors are already residential use, with the conversion of the remaining office space on levels 2 and 3 the subject of the above referenced application.
The planning documents do include an environmental noise survey, but this is in relation to external plant-generated noise.
Westminster Council’s Decision Notice document granting planning approval makes no reference to sound control.
I would hazard a very uneducated guess that specialist acoustic consultants were not involved in this project and the result is now a complex dispute.
Any changes Sadiq Khan makes would not apply retrospectively; however, as the article notes, the installation of soundproofing was included as a condition of granting planning approval of the 2013 application for this development. (I cannot find the planning application on Westminster Council’s website.)
In the previously linked article (http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/thousands-back-campaign-to-save-mayfair-curzon-from-closure-a3348601.html) Westminster Council says “we imposed a condition that protects the future use of the cinema from complaints by residents by making the developer responsible for installing adequate soundproofing. We are now investigating whether this soundproofing has been properly implemented.”
In the http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/sadiq-khan-plans-tough-new-rules-for-developers-as-he-wades-into-curzon-cinema-row-a3352481.html article, the developer says “There are a number of outstanding complaints from a number of leaseholders, including existing residents on the third floor, and health and safety issues, and a remedy for volume and vibrations needs to be found.
“Up until now Curzon have simply refused to address the problems which are their responsibility. No changes to the fabric of the cinema have been suggested and no investment has been demanded. Indeed, we have no idea where the earlier reported figure of £500,000 has come from.”
So, from the above, it’s not clear whether the complaints are from leaseholders occupying units pertaining to the 2013 application, and/or otherwise, what type of soundproofing, if any, was installed; and the reference to vibrations suggests that extensive work may be needed; the mere installation of a bit of mineral wool won’t be adequate!
All new dwellings must conform to “Part E” of the Building Regulations (“Resistance to the Passage of Sound”) but AFAIK these would never require sufficient attenuation for movie playback at reference volume levels.
That said, can Curzon not simply apply limiting to all sound channels and possibly turn off the LFE channel, which would not affect dialogue intelligibility?