signature red walls in Mirage Cinema by Da Bureau
The cinema’s signature red extends from the staircase to the walls and ceiling.

Da Bureau Builds a Temple of Light for a St. Petersburg Cinema

Movies are essentially works of light, which makes designing theaters for them a question of sculpting spaces in the dark. For Mirage cinema, a new space on Petrograd Side in St. Petersburg, INTERIOR DESIGN 2021 Best of Year Rising Star Da Bureau accomplished just that, transforming a 22,000-square-foot building into a mysterious, theatrical tribute to the magic of the dark.

But first, they had to organize. “The main space of the project, the two-story lobby, which gathers all the spectators and from where they disperse to the auditoriums was completely redesigned,” says cofounder and head architect Boris Lvovskiy. On the ground floor, the landscape is a cool gray tone, appropriate for a temple to the Silver Screen. The gray slowly gradates as it rises to the second floor via a reconceived staircase, transforming into a spectacular red that recalls the bulbs used in film developing rooms. They clarified back of house operations, as well, rethinking the internal zones for staff and projectionists, and introducing the new MKitchen food and beverage service, which delivers to the auditoriums.

Back into the light: Da Bureau then filled the space with large-scale light cubes. They form the ticket desk, architectural details, and wayfinding for the auditoriums and other functional spaces. Their default is white, but they don’t stop there. “The light settings change and adjust to the main colours of the film” being shown, he says. “The cubes shimmer. It is a very vigorous and vibrant space.” What’s more, he notes, “each cinema hall has its own unique character with light and sound effects when the visitors enter and wait, and before the film begins.” That certainly beats the standard barrage of commercials. “It’s designed to interact with the emotions that people go to the cinema for,” he says.  

various hues of blue and red light up the ticket desk at this theater
A monumental ticket desk glows in the adjustable hues of the space.
light creates portals at the entrance to theaters at Mirage Cinema
Light forms portals for the entrances to the theaters.
a silver floor in the ground floor lobby of a theater
Silver defines the ground floor lobby.
signature red walls in Mirage Cinema by Da Bureau
The cinema’s signature red extends from the staircase to the walls and ceiling.
a staircase in a gradient of red and gray
The staircase boasts a gradient transition between the ground and second floors.
a planter box against a silver curtain
Planters juxtapose curtains with their natural textures.
a purple hallway framed with LEDs leading to the bathroom
A hallway framed with LEDs leads to the bathrooms.
a theater bathroom lit with blue LEDs
The bathroom lights are also adjustable.

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