classic cinema


  • iTN architects


The classic cinema in Elsternwick is the oldest continuously operating cinema in Australia, open since 1911. To keep the cinema commercially viable in the current saturated market, it was necessary to add 4 new state of the art cinemas above the original cinema, and refurbish the old cinema and main foyer and bar.

This enables the operators to offer a great variety of films, from block-busters to obscure art-house, in a luxurious environment, keeping patrons happy, and dramatically expanding the viewing choice.

Key Features


The new and revamped classic cinemas display design excellence in their sophisticated approach to integrating the old and new elements.

Old and new elements are interweaved, with new structural elements exposed next to 100 year old brick and plaster, and state of the art acoustic panels.

The geometric patterning of the wall panels of the new cinemas are derived from the remnant mosaic tiling of the original foyer floor, and riff on the idea of “Classic”, drawing on classical Greek and Roman three dimensional illusion mosaic tile patterns, blown up to pop cartoon proportions.


The addition of 4 new screens and the significant upgrade to the original cinema and foyers, has had a dramatic impact on customer experience, and customer numbers.

Besides the greater choice of films, the extra comfort and quality of the interiors, makes the cinema going experience a true “night out”- and not just for teenagers- as at the typical multiplex.


The classic cinema attracts a sophisticated clientele , that appreciates good design, that caters for all – not just a narrow demographic.
With the competition for viewers never fiercer, cinemas have to provide a good reason for patrons to get off their couches at home. By providing an exciting environment and state of the art sound and vision, the Classic Cinema is proving to be a viable alternative.


Every layer of history in the building is represented, respected, and mixed into a fusion, over 100 years in the making.


The journey to the upper level is kept interesting by full wall cinematic images, peepholes and film script wallpaper.

The main bar presents as a real bar that happens to be in a cinema, with a brass and fluted timber front and metallic glazed mosaic tiles at the rear.

The new foyers are a series of intimate seemingly carved out of a solid mass, with soft curves to walls and ceilings to contrast with the geometric emphasis in the cinemas.

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