Lido Cinemas


  • itn architects


A new 8 screen complex housed in a historic building on bustling Glenferrie rd, Hawthorn. The building has had many lives: a theatre, cinema, cabaret venue, pool hall and dance school, with elements of many incarnations preserved. It includes a Jazz Room and a rooftop outdoor cinema.

Key Features


At every turn there are elements from the history of the building: the terrazzo flooring, a massive riveted beam in the bar floor, glimpses of the original decorative plaster ceiling through ceiling peep holes, and the original marble and mosaic tiled exit stairs. These have all been knitted together with boldly coloured new elements- a technicolor reimagining of past glories.


The cinema bar is located on the 1st floor above the entry arcade. Its long low arched ceiling is squeezed under the cinemas above, but an illusion of spaciousness is maintained by the deep blue ceiling with strip lighting, and the multi-mirrored walls. Original victorian windows overlook Glenferrie rd at one end of the foyer, relieving the subterranean feel. A pastel coloured terrazzo floor was unearthed and revived from its 1930s incarnation.


The old is dramatically contrasted with the new colour blocked elements, highlighting the varied layers in the history of the building. A Futuristic noir feel was inspired by the style of Godards film, Alphaville, using the darkness of the predominantly windowless space to create dramatic shadowy contrasts and colour plays.


Although the bar serves the full range of snacks from choc-tops to cheese platters, and soft drinks to quality local wines, the presentation is consistent and understated, proving you can go to a movie without feeling like you\’re at a fast food restaurant. With most clientele moving quickly through the space, en route to the cinemas above, it was important to create pockets of tranquil space, for the customers who want to linger. The booth seating achieves this well, while also utilising the lowest parts of the space, making a virtue of necessity.


The design was developed over a long period and was constantly adapted as elements of the existing building were uncovered during construction. This required a patient, inquisitive approach from client, builder and architect. Luckily, in this case,I think the stars aligned.

It was a balancing act between accepting and adapting to new discoveries, while not losing sight of the original intent. Being open to serendipity is more challenging, than rigidly pursuing a fixed result, and I think, can lead to a more enjoyable experience for the customer.

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