© Dennis Lo
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"New retail" has been a hot term in recent years. It is a business concept and simultaneously, a new way of living. As the concept of "new retail" evolves, traditional recreational locations such as movie theaters are also destined to undergo transformations.
In 2019, OFT was invited to work on the storefront design of K11 Art House, the flagship concept theater in K11 Musea. In this experimental project, OFT has used "Design + New Retail" as the core concept and has created Asia's first alp life-themed cinema, setting an example for up and coming entertainment complex cinemas.
The Future of Cinemas
K11 is not only a phenomenal art mall in Asia but is also the world’s first cultural-retail destination. As a maestro of integrating urban lifestyle, traditions, history, and geography multi-dimensionally, K11 musea is world-renowned for “Revitalizing”, “Retransforming” and “Recreating” urban humanities, art, and culture.
How do we build a cinema that can create consumer resonance for a top-tier culture curator IP? OFT and UA believe that the key is to further develop K11’s brand DNA of art, culture, and retail. K11 musea's multicultural lifestyle model has also brought new insight into the creation of future cinemas – it’s time to take a leap out of the one-dimensional retail scene and introduce social interactions, dining, and art into cinemas.
First of all, K11 Art House has made a pioneering move of introducing the MOOV Pop-Up music store – a first in Hong Kong. MOOV is an online music streaming platform similar to Apple Music and Spotify, and this is the first time for the brand to launch a brick-and-mortar store as part of a premium cinema. Other than extending the audio and visual feast offered by the cinema, the store is also a manifestation of the exploration of online and offline possibilities.
The Tipsy Project is launched in the public area with a bar – the Sake Bar, allowing customers to wander between the dreamlike virtual realm and the real world before and after watching movies. The viewing area, on the other hand, is divided into the White Box and Black Box – screening rooms that serve different functions.
As a multimedia event area, White Box works excellently as a venue and is well-equipped for play and musical screenings. A new independent exhibition space was also opened up, where Asia’s first Festival de Cannes Film Week, introduced by K11 Musea, took place. A series of movie-themed or movie-related cultural events had been held here.
Unlike the White Box, Black Box delivers a greater degree of intimacy, as it is a screening room that offers personalized film-watching experiences. The emergence of “the third dimension” inside the theater helps to break away from the usual theatrical ambiance, meeting people’s needs to connect with one another. On some level, Black Box is redefining social interaction in cinemas.
Through meticulous planning, OFT and UA have identified five models of retail experiences and have therefore turned K11 Art House into a multi-dimensional retail locale.
Indeed, to become a true "entertainment complex" doesn’t only require an attractive narrative created by new business concepts. Designers are also required to cross boundaries between different business models, scenarios, and schools of aesthetics. The essence of commercial design is to drive behavioral changes among consumers and create novel experiences to optimize the value of commercial spaces. OFT has not only further developed K11’s DNA on a business level, but through blending urban cultures and natural lifestyles, OFT has also paid tribute to K11 musea’s vision of revitalizing, retransforming and recreating cultures.