Before the widespread use of digital projection in cinema, piles of film reels and large projectors were a common sight in movie theatres. In Wuhan’s Wushang Mall Cinema, One Plus Partnership draws inspiration from this heritage to make a visual impact, referencing the rotating motion of film reels in projectors.

A husband-and-wife duo based in Hong Kong, the design studio is known for their dramatic cinema environments. Here, round plates are suspended from the ceiling in various heights; linked together in an enormous ceiling installation that serves as the main feature of the dynamic interior. Running through the entire lobby, the 2.8-m-diameter aluminium plates are painted to look like wood and give visitors the impression of continuous motion, thanks to the thoughtful position of lighting.

To balance the dynamic atmosphere, the flooring of the lobby features long strips of brown stone in two warm, mild shades, aligned with the direction of the ceiling structures. The darker shades enhance the illusion of movement by imitating the shadows the round plates would cast on the floor. Some of the plates are allowed to reach the floor, subtly separating and dividing different functional areas from the general lobby.

Round shapes are repeated throughout.

The motif of film reels continues inside the cinema auditoriums where small brown discs made of sound-absorbing material cover the ceiling and walls, creating a sense of speed and excitement as they seem to be flying towards the audience.

Read more about One Plus Partnership’s cinema projects in Frame 118, which is out now