more design office’s jianliju theater is alive with drama due to its film noir atmosphere

the ‘jianliju theater‘ offers a unique experience where the audience plays an integral part of their performances and productions. their new premises in shanghai demand a careful architectural approach to the relationship between space, event and movement. the architects from more design office have addressed these conditions with a deliberate and exaggerated exploration of form, lighting and circulation. the practice has taken the cinematic expression of film noir and applied its heightened sense of drama to the atmosphere within to create a sequence of contrasting spaces that read as a montage of screenshots from a film roll.

the entrance leading off the street down into theater



the shanghai based practice more design office employs bernand tschumi‘s 1976 ‘screenplays‘ theoretical project to reference the parallels with screen editing and the time-space nature of architecture. tools such as distortion, repetition and superimposition often used by the great directors of the film noir scene have all been applied as a method to soak the interior with all the atmosphere of a 50’s hollywood melodrama.

the waiting room; a calm and gently lit space where people can meet their fellow characters



the ‘jianliju theater’ is accessed off a nondescript side-street in central shanghai with the entrance door hidden at the back of an antique furniture emporium. visitors arrive only with a time, location and number. from the door a stair leads down into the darkness and from there the circulation seeks to create a sense of departure from the world outside, a deliberate act of disorientation initiated by a dark curved corridor that emphasizes low-key lighting and unbalanced compositions leads to the spaces inside. the functions are organized into a linear arrangement of spaces, where the visitor is prevented from going backwards, as if following an unknown figure through the street at night.

from a lightened space to the dark…

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