The home of British Cinema has been transformed in this ambitious re-imagining of the iconic ODEON Leicester Square. Built in 1937, the Odeon is described as ‘one of the more dramatic picture palaces of the 1930s’ with its simple black granite-clad exterior and distinctive tower.
This challenging project carried out within a strict conservation area involved asbestos removal, major structural alterations to connect the foyers of the main auditorium and the former studio auditoria, creation of a ‘glass box’ lounge bar overlooking the Square, significantly increased foyer space to contain expanded retail / bar facilities, installation of lifts and escalators for improved accessibility, refurbished main auditorium with recliner seating, new canopy and signage and repair / refurbishment of the iconic frontage.
The previous auditorium capacity has been halved to 800 seats, which include 350 recliner seats including 22 ‘Royal Box’ seats at the front centre of the circle.
The project also includes the refurbishment of the 4 small auditoria alongside the main auditorium, which provide a more intimate cinema experience.
In partnership with Dolby, the main auditorium is the first UK ‘Dolby Cinema’ by Odeon. It includes one of the largest and most sophisticated cinema sound systems in the world, with over 400 loudspeakers in 123 locations, and the latest twin 4K laser projection.
The 26 ton screen and speaker assembly is hung from the original fly grid and moves to create additional stage space for other events.
The interior design takes inspiration from the original art deco interior, with the story of the cinema told using a mirrored digital wall and significant film events recorded on the auditorium doors. The original 1937 Compton Cinema Organ has also been refurbished.