When STYLE asked Roderick Tong of Make Architects to design his dream theatre, we have to admit, the result wasn't quite what we expected.
Forgoing the traditional cinema experience inside a dimmed room, the designer has created a mobile pod fitted with all your cinematic needs.
"Back when I was a kid, I was always excited about going to the cinema. The excitement was not only about the movie itself, but the overall experience," Tong says.
With this in mind, the designer sought to create the ultimate experience for movie-goers. Technology plays an integral part in life nowadays, he says, and this served as his inspiration.
"When technology allows a movie to [be played] anywhere in the world, why can't the full home theatre experience be transported along with it?"
With his mobile pod, that is exactly what you get. Working like a caravan which can be attached to any car, the mobile pod is like an extension to your vehicle. Tong imagines the pod coming into use when taking a weekend road trip with friends and relaxing watching a movie atop a mountain or during an intimate midnight chat with a significant other on the beach.
"We no longer need to anchor our viewing habits to a heavy TV set," Tong says. "Movie experiences can now be enriched by unlimited possibilities in terms of setting and occasion."
If travelling with the pod is a concern, Tong has addressed those needs as well. The pod is extremely strong yet lightweight as the body is supported by a carbon fibre monocoque structure. This helps keep the weight to a minimum so it is easier to take on the road.
The petite nature of the pod is also nothing to worry about. If you think that users will be sitting uncomfortably in a tight space, you're wrong. In Tong's mobile pod, the options are endless. "Panels on the floor can be folded to form armchair shapes which can be adjusted in different positions to provide flexibility to suit people of different sizes and preferences," Tong explains.
In terms of technology and the full movie experience, Tong has spared no expenses to ensure top-notch sound and AV quality. Durable fabric with a smooth surface is stretched across the pod's ceiling and all the sides to form a "dome-shaped" projection screen.
The sidewalls are also furnished with upholstery fabric to ensure better acoustics from the KEF speakers he has installed on either side of the seating area.
During this movie experience, there will be no stiff neck or cramps. A number of projectors are installed in the pod. The projectors can detect the users' lounging positions to determine the best projection angle.
Better yet, the entertainment system comes with 3D technology. Tong acknowledges this is somewhat of a norm now, but adds that "the owner can also choose to install 4D enhancements, which combines the 3D experience with vibrations and air movements to further amplify every cinematic effect".
Those who prefer an outdoor environment have not been forgotten. "Both ends of the pod are installed with a magic mirror which acts as a giant TV screen," Tong says. "This allows the movie to play in crystal-clear definition for anyone watching outside the pod."
Watching the film outside will not undermine the experience in any way. There is a sound system tucked away on the underside of the end panels of the pod so the sound quality is as good as it is inside and out.
Tong has truly created the ultimate portable movie theatre experience, and we are sure he would be more than delighted to take the mobile pod out for a spin too.
"Watching a movie is very personal and this pod creates an enclosed environment where one can immerse themselves into another world completely," he says.
Roderick Tong heads the Hong Kong branch of Make Architects. Key projects he has worked on include London’s 10 Weymouth Street. His portfolio spans residential and hospitality works. His hotel projects include the newly-opened The Temple House in Chengdu. He is also overseeing a unique hotel project on Hong Kong’s Lantau Island, and a residential tower in Wan Chai.