Innovative Cinema Concept Promotes Community Togetherness

Centipede Cinema NEON

Cities all around the world struggle with the concept of creating urban communities, which provide community atmosphere and lifestyle. This is a serious issue with a mounting body of research suggesting that urban landscapes promoting social activity makes inhabitants less likely to become withdrawn, depressed and engage in petty crime.

Developments such as London’s Olympic Park South end outdoor rooms and New York’s High Line are offering to push the boundaries of isolated urban living, garnering strong positive results.

Now, a new project in Guimaraes, Portugal takes a very different route to enabling community togetherness.

London-based designers NEON, in collaboration with Colin Fournier and Marysia Lewandowska, have developed a piece of temporary public architecture that is functional, innovative and completely unique in its form.

The Centipede Cinema is a temporary cinema that invites passersby to slip through a number of neon yellow vertical tunnels and view films playing within.

Centipede Cinema NEON

Described as by the designers as a form of ‘public intervention’, they explain their choice to design this bizarrely industrial construct in juxtaposition with the traditional surrounding architecture in order to emphasise the notion of escaping from reality.

“(The cinema) invites film-viewers to enter its steel and cork structure via one of 16 nozzles so that their upper bodies are part of the cinematic experience whilst their legs are rooted in the outside world,” the designers say. “The alien-like structure creates a stark contrast with the historical streets of Guimarães, a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. This contrast is echoed in the playful juxtaposition of reality and the world of fiction.”

This notion of literally disappearing from day to life is earning high praise from the public and the architecture industry alike.

Guimaraes is known for its CineClube, with the new and original structure a nod back to cultural modes of the area. Further emphasising the sense of community that has been created through the process of joint escapism, films chosen to play in the space have all been chosen specifically by local leather factory workers.

The development of community spaces go beyond parks and sporting fields, which can be virtually impossible to create in dense areas.

Projects such as the Centipede Cinema show how innovation, design creativity and a sense of fun can lead to new and distinct successful ventures that can help to tie communities together.

By Emily D’Alterio
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