HOME THEATER ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN
Theo Kalomirakis received ten CEDIA awards for Best Home Theater Design and CEDIA’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
It is not very often you read the biography of an extremely successful and renowned person who has no competition– no peers, no professional equals. Even in the NFL there are many quarterbacks who’ve won the Super Bowl; there are a couple of living past US Presidents; and at least a dozen lion tamers lying around.
But there is only one name recognized around the world as THE premiere architect of home theaters – Theo Kalomirakis
In 1988 Theo created a home theater for his own Brooklyn brownstone residence. It became the subject of numerous national publications and it began his career as an architect of Luxury private theaters.
Theo has developed custom designs for IMAX Private Theatres in China, India, the UAE and the United States. Under a license from Walt Disney, he also developed the Theo Kalomirakis
for Walt Disney Signature furniture collection.
His peers and the media alike have long recognized Theo as the leading designer in the theater industry. He is heralded as “The Father of Home Theater”
“The client's expectations are the starting point for the design of our theaters.” – TK
Theo Kalomirakis is the author of two remarkable books about Home Theater Architectural Design, Great Escapes and Theo Kalomirakis’ Private Home Theaters. Each page is more visually stunning than the next, filled with conceptual motivations, technical and aesthetic challenges and revealing antidotes' regarding these private places.
There isn’t such a thing as 24/7 inspiration. However, even though not every movie palace could make a claim to greatness, most of them still managed to excite moviegoers. Their romantic fascination for faraway cultures, Egyptian, Spanish, Moorish, Chinese was hard to resist. They put such effort in dazzling the senses that despite their lack of stylistic consistency they charmed and disarmed the movie-going audience of their era just like they do to us today. My work as a theater designer has been highlighted by similar contradictions and extremes. Now and then I can capture some of the spirit of an old movie palace and some other times a design element seems off to me. But it does not matter if the overall design transports you to another world and makes you forget the world around you.
Don’t build the theater risers out of poured concrete. It’s like pouring cement in the cavity of a violin and expecting it to perform. A floor of wood joists covered with plywood and carpeting over it is the way to go.
Sometimes, we designers ignore the sightlines. We need to make sure that people can see the entire picture on the screen. When we sit behind someone else, make sure we can see the bottom of the screen.
Entering a theater should not feel like entering a bedroom, or, even worse, a bathroom. We must build a little anticipation before arriving at the theater. A marquee, a small lobby, a concession stand, go a long way towards setting the right mood for the show.
An area that does not always get the attention it deserves is lighting. Some people hang a few sconces on the wall and they call it a day. Well, sconces are fine for a non-demanding lighting situation. But for a home theater you need to have a more elaborate lighting design to achieve the right mood.
To me, next to architecture, lighting is the most important ingredient in theater design. Generic, overhead lighting may help you read a newspaper, but doesn’t do much else. On the other hand, creative use of light can add to immensely to the allure of a space and transform it into something magical and unique.