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    Michel Denancé

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    Michel Denancé

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    Michel Denancé

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    Michel Denancé

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    Michel Denancé

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    Michel Denancé

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    Michel Denancé

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    Michel Denancé

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    Michel Denancé

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    Michel Denancé

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Restructured Cinéma Les Variété re-ignites first Parisian theatre's spotlight

Georgina Johnston
14 Feb 2020

The french city’s first theatre: the Marseilles cinema’s new identity takes on a new impetus in the face of competition from commercial cinemas

Architect Atelier d'Architecture Lalo focused on the theatricalization of the city’s public’s journey to the halls; the façade has been refurbished, with new wood joinery matching the 19th century style that saw the birth of this place dedicated to the musical arts. The foyer has been expanded to accommodate indoor queues with seating and the reception’s public space has been upgraded by prefiguring plans to connect with the future restaurant due next year.

This restructuring of the cinema includes two new cinemas; the access to the cinemas, once complicated, have become smooth transitions on both floors, in progressive steps and open to the foyer. A lift has been inserted between the volumes to accommodate people with additional needs such as wheelchair users.

Thus, the removal of the many old corridors and several sanitary facilities has released a central atrium placed at the central gravity of the cinema. This new central empty space, capturing light on the roof and illuminated by suspensions floating in space, now hosts a large sculptural staircase, collectively distributing light to the three mezzanine rooms and the four upper floor rooms. 

All the image and sound equipment has been replaced by the latest in technology while avoiding sensory attraction to the detriment of the film itself. The number of chairs has been reduced for the benefit of the comfort of the spectator, with a great flexibility of the seats, dressed in a dark burgundy velvet, and their positions have been revised in order to improve the vision of the screen. 

Beyond its intended purpose, this new venue will also offer up new dynamics such as concert broadcasts, conferences, master classes, duplexes; a whole series of new possibilities allowed today by digital equipment. The cinema opens up to new dimensions and now becomes a transmitter, a place of topical interest, a place of radiation as the essential element of cinema: light.

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