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1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 25 (5)

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition
1950-51 Theatre Catalog
1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 25
Page 25

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 25

Interior Design and Color Coordination

Case Examples Are Used To Show How a Decorative Scheme May Combine the Functional and Esthetic

The selection of a design plan for his playhouse is a many-sided decision for the theatre operator. He is constantly aware that the owners one basic purpose is to make a profit. In order to do so, the theatre must appeal to a large group of patrons; but, as people in the mass are rather abstract, gauging their general tastes is perplexing. Since there can be no formula approach, design becomes largely an individual problem.

The operator must consider budget limitations, class of clientele served, competing structures, inexpensive maintenance, and other factors. The overall objective is beauty and public appeal at reasonable cost.

BRIEF: There is no denying the fact that appearances do count in every phase of modern life . . . an axiom which applies particularly to the motion picture theatre . . . Nine times out of ten the prospective patron will . brushing picture considerations aside for the moment . . . plunk down his money at the boxofjice of the house which he knows is attractively appointed . . . inside as well as out . . . A smartly contrived interior design scheme . . . which imparts an. air of elegance . . . will excite both admiration and appreciation in the movie-goer.

The hnest decorative elements in the world . . . however . . . will have little value unless they are intelligently coordinated . . with regard to: color . . . lighting . . . and choice of materials , . . The following article discusses the basic goals to be sought in a theatre decorative plan . . . and offers concrete suggestions on how they may be achieved.

Interior design and color coordination, as applied to most theatres. must be both functional and esthetic. The aim is to build up an atmosphere of eyecompelling beauty which is also sufiiciently cheerful and inviting to magnetizc and bring in the public. The modern theatre, for reasons of economy, usually depends on simple designs, materials,

and acoustics to achieve these effects. Even a quite limited budget is not an insurmountable barrier. Dorothy Draper, noted decorator, points out that most theatre operators are not aware how easy it is, to do over a theatre at small cost with a clever theme and color coordination. Theatre planning calls for a closely integrated design with lighting, form, and color correlated. When a theatre is modernized the broad design

must Work into the basic existing structure. After the general design is agreed

upon, the separate phases to be worked


out involve seating, materials, color, and lighting. The whole plan should be considered as packaging job which starts outside with the marquee, continues with the doormanls uniform, lobby, foyer, and on into the auditorium, rest rooms, etc. The entire design question is best placed in the hands of one master planner, since it is confusing to have one person responsible for color coordination, another for floor coverings, and a third for lighting.

Interior decoration should bear a definite relationship to the architecture. Bad architectural features can be minimized by clever use of color. For example, a rococo interior would not look well if painted in large surfaces of a sharply contrasting color. It would have great charm, however, in ivory and gold leaf or soft rose and blue shades.

Design is also dependent on the size of the theatre. A large house, which requires a more intimate atmosphere to offset the coldness of extraordinary depth and large expanse, might attain its objective by proper use of stronger colors, softer lighting, and architectural modifications. By the same token, the smaller theatre might benefit by these design principles in reverse to make it appear larger and more important.


Color is the reflection of light from all materials. A brown upholstered seat

is brown only because the dye materials in the material reflect this color from the rays of light; the other colors in the rays of light are all absorbed by the' fabric. These dye materials are called pigments and may be mixed in different combinations to produce various colors.

Mood and Atmosphere

Howard Ketcham, noted design and color engineer, states that color should function to attract attention to the theatre and create in the theatregoer a mood of expansiveness and readiness to enjoy the show. Certain colors are more effective than others in enlivening the spirit and can be applied after consideration of such factors as size and shape of the theatre, sections of the country, and the functional factors of soiling and fading.

A proper choice of colors can create a certain mood and a definite atmosphere. For example, in order to build up a cooling atmosphere in New Yorkis Astor, Dorothy Draper recently redecorated the auditorium in background colors of gray. The backdrop is maroon and seats are upholstered in mulberry. The lobby is painted white with bronze-gold decorations. The entire effect is one of airiness and cool comfort.

Illusions of Size

The theatre operator may find a clever use of color particularly advantageous when his theatre is so small that the psychological effect of entertaining 3

THE INTIMATE AND MODERN LOUNGE oi the Paris, N. Y. C., has brown carpeting with yellow. gray. and brown walls and natural-finish furniture. Wallpaper by the bitch stairway is figured with etchings.
1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 25