Home Cinema Design
As our lifestyles change, so does our architecture. For better or worse, we now perform dozens of tasks, every day, on a screen. And as such, we need a quiet, comfortable place to perform them. The classic lounge set-up is not always ideal; the bedroom is a no-no. More than ever, people are seeking purpose-built viewing rooms with privacy, sound-proofing and ergonomic seating to make all that time more productive and pleasurable.
We launched Scenario with a vision to take Britain’s elegant period architecture into the 21st century, using big ideas, technological skill and modern, durable elements. We match each living scenario to the clients we work with, designing bespoke spaces according to need. Our work ranges from new-build homes to smaller, niche projects like wine cellars, gyms and home cinemas, where space and budget are often tighter and practical criteria greater.
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Your Home Cinema project
Refurbishing and expanding a family home is an exciting prospect. Since founding our practice in 2007, we’ve subscribed to the ‘Don’t Move, Improve’ ideology, especially poignant during periods of political uncertainty and stretched affordability. Working closely with our clients, we aim to maximise space without sacrificing period charm. The results have helped make the country’s most treasured architecture functional, liveable and covetable in the long term.
Our landmark project is Scenario House, a contemporary, light-filled home adapted from a Victorian terrace in East London. Innovative and tailored to the owners’ requirements, it was shortlisted for several architecture prizes, including the prestigious RIBA London Award.
If you are planning to hire an architect for your home cinema design, read our brief illustrated overview. It will help you understand the various stages of the design process.
Most architectural projects require planning permission from the local council, although a home cinema may not. Consider asking an architecture firm to help. Our studio has had great success securing planning permission on behalf of our clients.
Discover if your chosen architect has had success steering planning applications through your local council. Visit the council website, click on “Planning and Building Control”, go into the search engine for planning applications and type in your agent’s name.
Scenario is an established architecture practice focusing on contemporary residential design. We take on projects of every scale and scope, from home refurbishment, renovation and expansions to new-builds.
Working with Scenario Architecture
Scenario is a boutique practice of skilled architects focusing on contemporary residential design. The studio takes on projects of every scale and scope, from renovations and expansions to new-build houses.
We collaborate with our clients every step of the way, from initial concept through construction to final completion, and we aim to finish all projects on time and on budget.
Using the latest 3D design and visualisation technology to streamline the process, our building information modelling technology (BIM) produces reliable construction information and accurate data to save time and money. A Chartered Institute of Building case study, featuring one of our flagship projects, highlights the benefits of using advanced technology for modern house design.
A RIBA Chartered Practice, Scenario complies with essential criteria covering insurance, health and safety, and quality-management systems.
In our client's words
Great ideas and vision to help with our substantial improvement of a Victorian terrace. In our experience Scenario's method prioritises the final result. That may mean more professional fees or higher quotes from contractors, as they understand the exact requirements.
Great, professional service. Good drawings and models and ultimately passed planning at the first attempt with Hackney Council. Would certainly recommend!
Scenario Architecture have created an outstanding design and space that was beyond my expectations. The design was through their unique process of understanding the client’s daily scenarios and collaborating with the client to come up with a unique design. The design process is one of the most memorable parts of the process and they also stretched my existing ideas to help create this unique space. A stress free journey throughout the whole process which Scenario were indispensable by giving advice on many difficult design and build decisions.
We wanted to renovate our house in a conservation area in central London. Given this involved a complete demolition and new build with an extra floor on top, getting planning approval was always going to be tricky. Scenario did an amazing job on the new house 'envelope' and throughout the planning phase. We couldn't have wished for better from them and having succeeded in gaining planning approval owe them a very big 'thank you'.
Scenario were great at thinking imaginatively and coming up with a design for a ground floor extension that was more ambitous than other architects we spoke to. They also helped us find a contractor who was able to complete the project working within timescale and our tight budget. I would recommend for mid to large sized projects with sufficient budget to allow for full utilisation of their creativity.
Smart-home technology is very much on trend these days. We’re spending more time at home and we want our domestic experiences to be the best they can be. The first cinemas, in their basic form, were created in the late 19th century, with one of the earliest said to be the Eden Theatre, built in 1889 in the French city of La Ciotat. It began its working life screening films by the pioneering Lumière brothers, often credited as the founders of cinema (a short movie by the Lumière brothers played at London’s Regent Street Cinema in 1896, giving it the status as the first cinema in the UK). The world’s oldest continuously operating cinema is the Washington Iowa State Theatre, in the US, which opened in 1897.
Naturally the cinema experience has transformed to the point where the destination-theatre isn’t even a necessary part. Technology and architectural ingenuity have improved to the point where the familiar issues of noisy audience members, latecomers, seat-kickers and poor projection can be eliminated altogether. Yet building a home cinema requires deliberation and forethought. It requires integrating a new zone into the existing floor plan to deliver superior audio and visual quality and a high-performance user experience. At the same time, a home viewing room shouldn’t be a detached, neglected space when there’s nothing on.
If you’re interested in incorporating a home theatre into your home, consider where it might fit best: a smaller, less-used area with little natural light, for instance. Debate the various options, from floating boxes and sunken pits to built-in wet-bars and recessed LED lighting. You’ll want to go with a darker colour palette and carpeted floors with textile wall-coverings or acoustic sound panels to absorb sound instead of causing an echo. Bespoke lighting is key, along with a high-quality surround-sound system and anti-reverberation equipment. At the same time, you’ll want to make sure the room has other functions besides entertainment. Many families use their home cinemas around the clock for working, gaming, video-conferencing and parties.
The experienced team at Scenario can work with you to design a bespoke cinema room that works with your hobbies and lifestyle. We guide our clients closely through every consideration to produce a room with maximum comfort and exceptional performance.
For home cinema design inspiration, have a look through design and interiors magazines, and visit websites like Pinterest, Houzz and Instagram, which publish endless materials regarding home cinema design. Then, just add popcorn.
Frequently Asked Questions
- As a dynamic practice operating in London’s premium residential market, managing projects remotely and conducting virtual meetings was a very familiar territory for us, long before the pandemic began and ‘working remotely’ became the norm.
- Our clients have very busy lifestyles and may move between several different locations, both within the UK and beyond, during the lifecycle of a typical project.
- To accommodate such client needs and enable us to run their projects smoothly we had all the technology and know-how associated with remote working in place for several years.
- Read our full (Virtual) Process
- Scenario based design – We start each and every project with a meticulous analysis of our client’s vision, requirements and aspirations. We do this by asking our clients to imagine their everyday scenarios living in the completed house and describe their desired interaction with it.
- Uniquely interactive - Our client’s deep involvement in the process does not stop with completion of the brief. Our design meetings are highly interactive, informal and fun.
- Designed to reflect you – Based purely on your lifestyle, aspirations and requirements and free from externally imposed concepts, metaphors and pre-conceptions, a completely fresh and unique design will gradually emerge and it will tell your story not ours.
- Collaborative – We start the conversation with planners early and advise most of our clients to seek pre-planning advice prior to submission of a full planning application. Our experience shows that when properly consulted and liaised with, most planning case officers will be receptive to conduct a professional dialogue, increasing chances of successes.
- Strategic – We tailor a custom planning strategy for each project based on its circumstances such as planning history, local context and specific challenging elements. We sometimes split applications or introduce minor tweaks to the scheme during the consideration period in conversation with the officers to prevent one contentious element from jeopardising approval of the main scheme.
- Professional – Our experience shows that the quality and clarity of the submission in terms of background research, planning history of the property and context, precedent and of course the arguments presented to support the case has a tremendous effect on success rate.
- The decision period clock only starts ticking once the application is validated by the Council, This requires then to check that the forms are completed correctly and that the submission contains all the necessary drawings, statements and reports.
- Although required by law to provide a decision within the statutory eight weeks period, it is not uncommon for councils to miss the deadline of the consideration period, normally only by a few days, sometimes longer.
- In some cases the council may ask us as your agent for an extension of time, this may be requested due to internal reasons or as an acceptable result of a professional discussion that we are conducting with them about certain aspects of the application that they are not sure about.
- Our experience shows that planning officers respond better to projects when they feel consulted and collaborated with. We find that when we truly listen to their often helpful and valid feedback and treat them as consultants for the projects and not representative of an evil enforcing authority, they tend to collaborate well with us and demonstrate increased flexibility.
- Although the council in theory have eight weeks to consider your application, in practice they are constantly overloaded. They will only look at your application in the last few days of the consideration period. If this is the first time that they come across a scheme that they were never consulted about, our chance to secure permission for you in a single attempt is significantly compromised.
- The standard practice is for the council to consider the full planning application as submitted and then issue a yes or no decision. Case officers are not required or even encouraged to enter a discussion with us or accept resubmission of minor changes to the proposed scheme during the consideration period.