Singapore-based architecture firm DP Design has completed Cinemaxx Junior, a colourful and kids-friendly cinema in Jakarta. The concept of Cinemaxx Junior arose from the observation that families with young children often do not fully enjoy their first experiences together at the movies, where silence is expected and parents spend more time attending to their children than paying attention to what is happening on screen. This created a unique opportunity to custom-design a space dedicated to children aged 3 to 10 and their families, by bringing together the two enjoyable activities of movie-watching and playing in a cohesively-designed environment.
The concept of Cinemaxx Junior is both innovative and exciting – In a distinct departure from the traditional movie-going experience, Cinemaxx Junior redefines and expands on the movie experience by offering patrons the freedom to move around at will – children are not constrained to assigned seats, but are instead encouraged to explore the play and screening areas while interacting and socialising with other children in a fun and safe environment. With the play element fully integrated with the movie experience, parents and guardians no longer have to worry that their child would disturb other visitors, which exponentially increases their enjoyment of the space as well.
In today’s urban environment, especially in Asia where many families are dual-income, bonding time with their children is a precious commodity to many parents. In response to this trend, Cinemaxx Junior has been designed as a holistic concept seamlessly integrating two separate recreational functions into one enriched experience where “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. Where it is not always possible to carve out the time for full day outings, the space has been designed to accommodate manageable 3-hour blocks for users, offering a full hour of play time in the play area before the film starts in the screening area, after which children are free to move between the two areas. Special meal options for children are also offered, rounding off a memorable and fulfilling experience.
Upon entering the gate, children will enter a veritable garden of colour and delight. Appealing to the eyes and senses, there is no linear set path to enjoy the space – a child can choose to slide, climb, crawl, jump, swing from place to place or just spin lazily in a cocoon-shaped spinner.
There are also multiple points of entry into the screening area from the play area, and a variety of ways to reach them. One of the most exciting ways to enter would be to climb up the yellow ‘Wall-o-lla’ to reach the tube slide, which lets children slide into a colourful ball pit right below the movie screen.
Given the high ceiling of the play area, the design optimised the opportunity to create multi-level experiences by introducing a mezzanine level and a bridge structure that serves as support for the climbing tree and connects to one of the entrances to the screening area. The bridge also leads to the longest of the 4 tube slides, mounted on a wall right within the screening area. The progressive approach to play and emphasis on tactility and social interaction fully immerse children in the space while the non-directional circulation and programmatic paths encourage freedom of expression and independent thought, leading to new experiences.
The cinema accommodates 106 people at full capacity, translating to approximately 30 families per session. The seating configuration was specially designed to appeal to a child’s sensibilities, with four types of seats upholstered in stain-resistant vinyl fabrics in bright and vibrant colours. The seating design encourages informality, with bean bags, loungers, sofa beds and standard cinema seats. The non-conventional seats were also designed to foster parent-child bonding where, for example, parent and child could choose to cuddle at the beanbags while watching the movie, much like how a parent would cuddle their child while telling them bed-time stories at home.
all images © Marc Tey | courtesy of DP Design