26 May 2021 • Hospitality
Batek Architekten renews a 20th-century arthouse cinema in Berlin
The historic Berlin movie theatre Blauer Stern has seen a revitalization by local practice Batek Architekten.
Blauer Stern is housed in an 1870 building – originally, it was a dance hall before being converted into a theatre in 1933. Moving into present day: Batek Architekten was tasked with renovating the historic space through targeted interventions, helping its clients achieve modern cinema requirements. That process consisted of enlarging Blauer Stern’s foyer, refurbishing its two auditoriums and improving sound insulation throughout. The designers took spatial elements of film’s golden era, such as velvet upholstery, deep red and purple tones and metallic detailing, making them appropriate to the contemporary setting. One of the most outstanding features is a textile wall in the main auditorium based on Mechtild van Ahlers’ work Lange Reise – moviegoers will have first seen the piece in the foyer. Bespoke lighting is inspired by the existing graphic lozenge moulding pattern of the lobby ceiling.
By the time you’ve reached your seat, a cinema space should have already gone half the way in transporting you into another realm. That’s not to say these interiors need be fantastical: there’s something about traditional theatre design – cushy red seats, dark walls, ambient lighting – that seems to be infallible at doing so. And Batek Architekten has managed to effectively translate those codes into a modern-day visual language. The foyer, admittedly, could do a better job at immersing guests in the atmosphere the rest of the cinema offers – it lacks the theatrical allure of the hallways and auditoriums.