By Daniel J Sait for CE Pro

Part of a Georgian terrace in one of the most exclusive post codes in London (close to Buckingham Palace), this beautiful property dates back to 1775. Luke Newland, director at New Land Solutions, says the project was a bit of a dream come true.

An amazing property to be involved with, coupled with a budget to really go all out on some highly inventive solutions, meant that everyone involved agreed that this was one of the most satisfying and accomplished cinemas ever delivered in the UK.

The whole house received attention from New Land, but undoubtedly the cherry on the top is the cinema, which really underlines what can be done when this industry puts its collective mind to a seriously challenging brief.

Located in the basement, at first the room appears to be a relatively simple space decorated in a combination of gun metal grey and burnt orange highlights; the sofa, which is huge by the way, (two six footers could easily recline on it) is a bespoke half square design around a coffee table, however, this is where the normality ends.

Pulse, New Land and Future Automation have collaborated to deliver one of the most impressive automated transformations of a room ever seen.

Luke explains that the issue in the cinema that led to this unique solution was one of space.

The room is an attractive meeting room or TV lounge, however to accommodate the amount of seating required when in cinema mode presented some real issues.

Initially the idea was to add another tier of seats behind the main seating at a different level, but there were issues with having seats at that height, aesthetically and practically.

Ideas then started to shift towards maybe raising the second row of seats electronically, just for screenings, but then the idea was hatched to hide the seats completely under the floor and raise them into position when needed.

This was made possible as the renovation of the property included the placement of a pool in the basement, giving the install team the room they needed to work with.

We threw various ideas around, maybe using some sort of bomb door to hide the seats under and then raise them up, or maybe a sort of car sunroof arrangement. It was also about this time that internally the room started getting called the Danger Mouse room after the 80’s spy cartoon hero who had a special sofa that took him to his secret layer.
Luke Newland - Managing Director, Newland Solutions

Just like the eponymous rodent hero, the team saved the day with an ingenious arrangement where the room can change from its standard seating arrangement, to full cinema mode where another five seats are added from beneath the floor as the main sofa shifts forward and the coffee tables disappears below the floor.

All of this takes less than 100 seconds.

All of the seating was delivered via the Pulse supplied Fortress range, which really lived up to its reputation of being able to supply totally bespoke products as the spec had to completely match the design for the whole effect to work.

Not only does the main sofa provide seating, but it also houses many of the control mechanisms that make the transformation work.

Moving mechanisms and motors robust enough to lift the hidden chairs, lower the coffee tables and move the main sofa forward of course came with a lot of health and safety issues.

To make sure this part of the project was covered, the install team had to include pressure sensors in the carpets, seats and sofa which automatically stop movement if pressure is detected.

We were contacted by New Land Solutions and Pulse with a remit to create a mechanism that would achieve the desire to have a multi-functional cinema room that could be hidden when the client wanted to use the room not for cinema. As there was existing planning permission for a swimming pool, we had the relative luxury of substantial under floor space that could be utilised for the mechanism.
Ollie French - Future Automation

“As with any custom design, from getting an initial remit, we put down some visual concepts as to what this could look like to get the client to understand what direction we are going in. The initial concept did not have the sliding sofa, it was going to just be a straight up lift.

“From putting these ideas down, the design was tweaked and we ended up with the concept of the coffee table dropping, the sofa sliding forward and then the row of seats raising up from the floor.

“We had to consider practical usage and safety issues through the design process before we settled on the best application to fit what the client wanted and what was going to be the best engineering solution.”

The chairs are not the only hidden part of this install, the Pulse supplied Runco projector also appears from a hidden recess at the rear of the room and the 150in Screen Research screen with masking, also supplied by Pulse, drops down from a space above the viewing area which at rest is occupied by a large print by the artist L.S Lowry.

The room also presented some big challenges acoustically with windows, doors, a glass wall and a wooden finish on the walls to deal with.

Acoustic board treatments in the ceiling and moving acoustic walls hide the windows when the cinema is active which doubled up as black-out blinds.

New Land also included acoustic curtains to hide the relay modules and equipment noise.

The Pulse supplied Datasat RS20 was also an important part of the performance, offering room correction as the install team could not place the 11 speakers needed for the room into ideal locations due to the usable space needed and design challenges with the interior designer.

This cinema was also to be used in daylight viewing, so the projector had to have sufficient luma/light input to produce a high quality brightness output, however, this caused more headaches in terms of the size of projector needed.

Luke explains that as everything had to be hidden, having a projector on show was a non-starter.

With the help of Future Automation, a custom designed automated reveal bracket was created, storing the projector when not in use and hiding the space this created with a moving wooden board.

The cinema also boasts a Pulse supplied video processor, Kaleidescape Movie Server and professional amplification & speakers.

All of this needed to be easily controlled and Luke created a Savant based control solution designed with a user friendly interface with just three options (full cinema, daytime viewing and family room) which make the best of the 32 motors, six amplifiers, five video sources and different layouts the room can offer.

Luke concludes: “As well as being really proud of our own efforts, Pulse and Future Automation really outdid themselves on this project. Giving us the support to make this crazy idea come true. Pulse helped at the start with the original drawings of the bomb door room design, drawings that were key to the progression of the design, their renders where also a great help and Future Automation’s technical drawings were perfect.”

The Kit List

  1. Screen Research 150in screen with masking
  2. Runco LS60d with cinemascope lens
  3. Runco video processor
  4. DataSat RS20i audio processor
  5. 2 x Kaleidescape Cinema One Movie Server/Players
  6. 5 x Procella DA-2800 amps
  7. Savant SSP Matrix and HDMI blades
  8. Savant Host
  9. Savant PBX
  10. Autonomics mms2 audio server
  11. Procella Speakers P8 x5
  12. Procella Speakers P10 x3
  13. Procella Speakers P15
  14. Procella Speakers P18
  15. Oppo blu-ray player
  16. Sky HD
  17. Apple TV
  18. Middle Atlantic Racking
  19. CYP Video baluns
  20. 1 x Fortress Seating custom sofa
  21. 5 x Fortress cinema seats
  22. Ocean Air Fabric custom wall panels x 6
  23. Ocean Air Black blinds x 4
  24. Ocean Air Roof Blinds
  25. ISO Mass acoustic wall treatments
  26. Future Automation Custom Lift and reveal mechanisms