How They Did It: Le Cinema Garage

Ed Wenck | Jul 30, 2020

661100aThe client who commissioned this cinema wanted his two “dream toys” side-by-side. That’s why this dedicated home theater is right next to the space that holds his Ferrarri. These two items – the cinema and the car – represent the fulfillment of a retirement dream for the homeowner. This was more than a financial commitment – this was, according to the integration firm responsible for this award-winning room, an “emotional investment” for the customer.

As the team at France’s Hi-Concept tells us, “The challenge for us was designing a room that could fit in the specific shape and structure of the garage, without compromising on sound and aesthetic quality. The door in the back of the cinema would open into the rest of the garage, where his Ferrari was housed. It was very important to him that we designed the cinema to integrate both the room and the presence of the car in the adjacent area.”

The aesthetic here? Sleek, modern, but with a touch of nostalgia, and it’s a look that’s carried from the garage all the way into the equipment racks for the theater. Achieving that balance proved to be quite a bit easier than ensuring the right sound – and sound isolation – inside a metal building, and with the limitations of a fairly modest budget.

661100oBig Sound on a Limited Budget

Hi-Concept outlines the three big acoustic issues they had to address when installing and calibrating the 7.4.2 Dolby Atmos system:

“The shape of the garage was irregular, so we had to create paneling, and faux walls to create the structure necessary to maintain audio integrity.”

“Second, the cinema was also next to the bedroom. Therefore, sound dampeners had to be carefully installed between faux walls and the real walls, to insulate the cinema's sounds from people in the bedroom.”

The aforementioned metal construction of this part the home was the third challenge here. “We thus had to separate this room from any contact with the metal structure, so as to prevent vibration from generating noises that could then be transmitted throughout the house.” The final result includes four layers of acoustic damping between the theater and the rest of the home.

661100pWinning Details

The room is fairly tight, so HVAC noise was another issue, and quiet inline duct fans did the trick. Hi-Concept notes: “One was placed on the top of the video projector and the other one on the top of the rack, as those are the largest sources of heat. A thermostat was programmed by us to automatically regulate the speed of the fan. A carefully calculated incision was made at the bottom of the metal wall to allow passive airflow from the adjacent room”

The client uses the cinema as a true retreat, therefore, “Every consideration was given to lighting design and control,” says the integrator. “We programmed several scenarios for ease of access, which are easily activated by a switch at the entrance. The scenarios include full brightness (for cleaning the room), warm lighting (for reading), cinema settings (to watch a movie), and an easy all-off switch.”

CEDIA’s judges were impressed with the finished product, noting, “This project is amazing - very well designed and looks great!” For their efforts, Hi-Concept picked up the 2019 award for Best Home Cinema, Level I, EMEA. You can find a complete equipment list for this project at the CEDIA Awards website here.