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Showcase Cinema De Lux, Westfield Derby, England

Issue 47 Feb / Mar 2009 : Retail : Cinema


Into Lighting design consultants are instrumental in creating the ‘De Lux’ in Showcase Cinemas’ latest concept.

Showcase Cinema De Lux is a new concept in cinemas and is one of the flagship tenants in several major new shopping centre developments in the UK, namely Westfield, Derby; Highcross, Leicester; and Cabot Circus, Bristol with the Westfield, White City site due to open later this year. Westfield Derby was the first site to open in the UK when the shopping mall opened for business in May 2008. Into Lighting Design Consultants was appointed by the client National Amusements (UK) Ltd as lighting consultants working with Aedas Architects Ltd and Julian Taylor Design Associates to design all public areas, transition areas, lounges, bars, directors lounge, spillways, escalator areas, box office, concessions, foyer, bespoke fittings.

Showcase Cinema De Lux UK is the latest innovation of Showcase Cinemas, a major division of National Amusements, the global leader in the motion picture exhibition industry and the parent company of both Viacom and CBS Corporation. It redefines the cinema experience by bringing together the latest films and events, contemporary dining, impeccable service and a full range of distinctive amenities.

The brief demanded that the lighting helped to provide a dramatic impression for this breaking new concept, add to the entertainment and enhance the ‘de lux’ environment where customers would spend an entire evening combining going to the cinema with enjoying time in the bar or lounges as well attractive concessions. The lighting needed be fully flexible to allow for daytime and late evening use as well as special functions while still being practical maintain and fulfilling functions such as way finding and adjusting customers vision before entering dark auditoriums.

The general ambient light levels were kept as low as legally possible, helped by black floors and ceilings to maximise the impact of key architectural elements. This high contrast effect also draws customers to well-lit concessions and box offices. In doing so great care was taken in minimising glare with high level double focus metal halide downlights in the foyer, baffles in spillways and dark light reflectors for even wallwashing featured tiled walls. Hidden continuous cold cathode slots along the wall in the spillways lead the eye down along it and are dimmable to be able to adjust to the minimal level before entering auditoriums. 

Bespoke lighting features were made to become unique signature elements of the brand experience. To fill the 8m high main foyer, 2m diameter fabric pendants were a challenge to make, deliver and install but were lit with mains dimmable compact fluorescent lamps to save energy. Long lamp life tungsten filament lamps in a gold ceiling raft over the VIP box office give the counter a theatrical glamour. Similarly, large filament lamp pendants dim down in the VIP bar to create a warm sparkle. Fibre optic points mounted behind wall mounted bottles over the bar are able to slowly change colour creating a stunning feature.

All the foyer lighting is either dimmed or split in to separate switchable circuits to provide total flexibility. Even the cold cathode halos around plasma screens are dimmable at the touch of a button. This ensures film projections on the large foyer bulkheads are not washed out but the surface can be flooded with light when they are not in use.

The main bar and the VIP bar have set lighting scenes changing dramatically from daytime family use to more sophisticated late evening mood. Pools of light on tables and narrow beams across walls become more dramatic, and bespoke pendants and washes onto sculptural walls change from warm white to red tones.

The contrasting lighting effects and eye-catching feature light fittings have worked with the interior design to produce a unique cinema experience that moves cinema on in the 21st century. The environment feels sumptuous and glamorous with the lighting scenes changing the pace and varying the mood between afternoon and evening to prolong customer visits. The new concept has generated a great deal of excitement in Derby becoming a major attraction in the Westfield Centre, something that is being repeated across the UK.


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