The Floating Cinema is a project to create a floating structure to accommodate intimate on-board film screenings, larger outdoor film events and provide a base for film related activities led by artists Nina Pope and Karen Guthrie (known collectively as Somewhere). The structure is navigating the waterways of the five Olympic host boroughs during the summer 2011.
To create the Floating Cinema we refurbished and re-imagined an old work boat. The existing boat was 6.5 feet wide by 52 feet long and consisted of two enclosed cabins at either end, a 14 foot long glass-fronted interior space, and a 12 foot length which was completely open to the elements. The existing boat had an engine which allows the cinema to move around the canals autonomously.
The Cinema Interior
The 6’ x 14’ glass-fronted interior space has become the cinema itself. We worked closely with local makers to create the interior fixtures and fittings. A furniture maker made 12 bespoke flip-up cinema seats that allow 12 people (the maximum number permitted by licensing) to sit comfortably and either face forward towards a screen at one end, or face each other for workshops and seminars. These seats are made from reclaimed oak tabletops and are designed to fold away and flip up to allow this small space to be cleared for non-seated events. A textile designer made removable upholstery cushions for the seats to ensure comfort during feature-length films or longer journeys; and black-out fabric curtains which have an intricate smocking structure creating the sense of luxury and glamour associated with cinemas, even on this small boat.
The Quilted Structure
In contrast to the utilitarian, crisp structure of the existing boat, we designed a soft quilted canopy over the open space to create a semi-outdoor area adjacent to the cinema room. This space is used as an entrance lobby and spill-out space during screenings and workshops, and also as an outdoor viewing area protected from the elements for admiring the landscape when the boat is on the move.
The structure consists of a treacletart-like lattice made from steel tubes, that supports a soft quilt (aka “the puff”) made from sail fabric, Weathermax. We also worked with an illustrator who designed a unique pattern which is silk screen printed onto the puff. The pattern draws inspiration from Art Deco, a style strongly associated with both boats and cinemas, and Roses and Castles, the traditional narrow-boat decoration style.
The pattern encapsulates the nature of the project as a whole: an extraordinary melange of diverse functions and characteristics that come together to form an unusual and expressive creation.
Curators - UP Projects - www.upprojects.com
Artists/Cinema Programme - Somewhere - www.somewhere.org.uk
Boat Refurbishment - Will Austin - www.alt8v.com
Puff Fabric - Jeckells The Sailmakers - www.jeckells.co.uk
Puff Steel Structure - AB3 Workshops - http://ab3workshops.squarespace.com/
Timber Furniture - Simon Jones - www.simon-jones.info
Curtains and Upholstery - Georgia Bosson - http://georgiabosson.com/
Puff Pattern - Jill Tytherleigh - http://jilltytherleigh.com/