Tivoli Cinema by Run For The Hills

The multidisciplinary design team at Run For The Hills have created the logo, advertising and interiors for a plush cinema venue in Bath

Project Info
Tivoli Cinemas
Run For The Hills
Unick Architects
Main Contractor
Maeve Contractors
Start Date
Spring 2018
December 2018

Words by: Sophie Tolhurst

Contemporary cinema design is dominated by two schools of thought, with the modern multiplex on one side: futuristic graphics and attention grabbing-idents, high-performance seats, everything with a seeming case of gigantism (including the snacks); and the art-house cinema on the other: couples’ sofas, footstools, velvet upholstery, at-seat service. Tivoli’s first cinema, opened in Bath in December 2018, is certainly on the latter side. It is however, also of its own kind, and also very ‘Run For The Hills’.

The airy, main hospitality area on the first floor is an open-plan space

Everything from the visual identity to the interiors has been designed by the London-based agency; their multidisciplinary in-house team – including signwriters and visual artists – enabling them to tackle all aspects of the job. It was in part this holistic approach that drew Tivoli’s CEO, Justin Ribbons, to recruit them, to: ‘create a seamless, new brand identity and in-venue look, from the decorative scheme to the design of the menu, signage and ad campaign.’ As Ribbons commented, he wanted this new venture to be ‘a destination in its own right, that also happens to be a boutique cinema’ – its typology somewhat incidental to the final design. For Run For The Hills’ creative director Anna Burles, however, it is an exciting new string to their bow, and they ‘absolutely loved’ their first foray into cinema design.

Sumptuous-feeling screening rooms with glossy velvet sofas, wooden tables and low lighting

The main cinematic facilities are four ‘boutique-sized’ screening studios, and a twelve-seater ‘Directors Lounge’ available for private hire, complete with its own entrance, foyer, and lounge. The screening rooms feel sumptuous, with glossy velvet sofas, wooden tables and low lighting. Thoughtful details include providing storage on the back of the seat, or rather, sofa, in front – no more scrabbling for your possessions amongst spilled popcorn. In the Directors Lounge, the arrangement of its twelve seats, divided by a central aisle and tiered just as it would be for a larger cinema, seems to emphasise its exclusivity.

The concierge-style lobby

The marketing campaign, also designed by Run For The Hills, heralds Tivoli as ‘Cinema, Re-classified’, and its animated idents appear on screens throughout its hospitality spaces, reinforcing the idea. But the point of Tivoli is to attract more than just cinema-goers. Tivoli’s debut also provides a number of ‘high-end social and dining spaces.’ Though you might visit for just one of its facets; dining, socialising – or, indeed, the cinema – the areas between the facilities are laid-out so movement between them occurs naturally.

A tantalising glimpse into the exclusive 12-seater ‘director’s lounge’

On the first floor’s main hospitality area, light floods into the room through large windows. The space is open-plan, though there is a more formal dining area, which can be separated by floor-to-ceiling curtains. Here, in the airy space, with its abundant natural light hitting columns tiled in glossy off-white, pale walls and parquet flooring, the furniture in dark hues – dusky blues, olive greens – does not overcrowd the space. Furniture is robust and in ‘warm’ woods, and armchairs invite sinking into – comfort is clearly the essence here. Against the pared-back palette, geometric prints on floor and furnishings in contrasting dark and light tones have a handmade feel. An eclectic mix of decorative elements include prints, artwork, patterned flooring and soft furnishings that take inspiration from across the globe. These act as conversation starters, say the designers, but they also function as props for the interiors’ narrative. The bathrooms are defined by heavy countertop sinks, and with their marble insides, combined with large-scale terrazzo flooring, the design errs on the organic side of modern-luxe.

The bathrooms feature heavy countertop sinks with marble insides

The mood shifts however, and as the daylight fades, a neon TIVOLI logo comes to prominence – welcoming the visitor with the ‘hero cocktail bar’. Here, glamour is high-up on the programme. Below the red-glow of the logo, there is a classic cocktail bar setting with antique mirror and brass fixtures. The bar itself is topped with arabesatto marble, with bullnose edging in antique brass, and an illuminated mesh front. Surrounding the bar are six stools with the same metal finish; upholstered in a dark, tropical-patterned velvet. When cinema design now has such recognisable tropes, compared to other boutique cinema brands, Run For The Hills’ confidence with print and pattern infuses the design with personality. But somewhere in the tropical prints and eclectic furnishings is perhaps the audacity and escapism of early 20th century exoticised cinema experiences – though not exactly Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

Tivoli’s logo was also created by Run For The Hills

Tivoli’s new concept for cinema is alluded to by the new ‘key’ logomark developed by Run For The Hills. The designers state that the key logomark refers to some mystery between TIVOLI’s various elements… a ‘key to unlocking the infinite visual senses’. A pattern made from the logo is repeated throughout the venue’s screening and dining spaces, on everything from tickets, popcorn buckets and coffee cups, to the carpet in the screening rooms. Yet the cumulative effect of all this does not overwhelm, and the more lasting sense is one appropriate to cinema, of light and dark and an enticement to move between them. Spaces vary in illumination: starting from an entrance where brass handrails appear chiaroscuro out of the shadows, Tivoli offers a welcoming entrance into the otherworldly, ineffable glamour of the cinema.

Key Suppliers
Elektra Lighting
Serva Clean
Blue Stone Catering
Image Technique
AJR Electrical
Studio acoustics
Studio seating
Bespoke lighting
Northern Lighting
Tiled flooring
Otto Tiles

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