A theatre has opened in London’s Soho that can be totally reconfigured at the touch of a button.
The Boulevard theatre functions stalls and a balcony that each revolve independently, along with a stage that moves up and down, making a wide range of diverse configurations achievable.
The whole project is developed by Soda, a London-primarily based studio that operates across architecture, interiors and graphic style. It types portion of a new improvement named Walker’s Court, in the heart of Soho.
Behind the project is Fawn James of Soho Estates, whose grandfather Paul Raymond established the Raymond Revuebar, an infamous strip club that initially occupied portion of the website.
“For me it was all about celebrating my grandfather, my heritage and also Soho,” she explained throughout a tour of the creating.
“This website has played such an crucial part to the nearby history of our ‘village’ of Soho, so we knew it was very important for us to bring back a location for overall performance and entertainment.”
The Boulevard requires its name from a theatre that served as a sister venue to the Revuebar. It played host to a wide range of performances, from standard drama to erotica, and was also house to standup comedians The Comic Strip.
With the introduction of revolving components, the new theatre can be even a lot more versatile.
Soda worked with theatre specialist Charcoalblue to make the auditorium as functional as achievable. The transformations all take significantly less than 10 minutes, so the space can quickly host 3 or 4 diverse kinds of overall performance in 1 day.
“A single of the points that I definitely wanted was that element of surprise, since when you happen to be in Soho you never necessarily know what you happen to be obtaining,” James explained.
“At times you could come to a show in the round, go downstairs grab a bite to consume, then come back up for the subsequent show and really feel like you happen to be in a totally diverse area.”
The stalls can be rotated by 360 degrees, whilst the balcony has a span of 270 degrees. There are also other components to help transformations, like blackout window blinds and moving acoustic screens.
Even the wood-framed leather chairs, created with manufacturer Race Furnishings, are developed to be stackable.
“We believed extended and really hard about how we could make stackable chairs that did not appear lightweight,” explained Russell Potter, 1 of the two directors of Soda.
“We came up with the notion of horizontally stacking them, so they fold up and nest into each and every other.”
The theatre creating spans Walker’s Court, a narrow pedestrian street.
Guests enter on 1 side of the street, climb a staircase, then cross more than a glass bridge to attain the theatre bar and the entrance to the auditorium.
This glass bridge functions an inlay of lace, in reference to a brothel previously positioned on this street.
The lace pattern is a recurring motif – it also functions on the blue velvet panels in the theatre and on the filigree screens that shade windows.
“The brothel applied to have these net curtains in the window with a red light behind,” stated Potter.
“We believed, if you can not have a bit of enjoyable in Soho, exactly where can you? So it is a version of that.”
The bar and restaurant is an art-deco-inspired space featuring pink panelled walls, marble surfaces, brass lighting, and leather and velvet upholstery.
There are also subtle references right here to the Boulevard logo, also developed by Soda, in this space. The shape of the B is picked up in the double-curved edges of the bar and drinks counters.
A rolled steel staircase ascends a different floor to the theatre auditorium on the level above.
The rest of the Walker’s Court improvement is nonetheless beneath improvement. It consists of the revival of legendary club Madame JoJo’s, plus apartments, shops and workplace space.
A single of the new workplace spaces sits straight behind a remake of the original Raymond Revuebar neon sign, created by God’s Personal Junkyard.
Soda chose a range of diverse bricks to give diversity to the building’s new facades.
Nevertheless the original facade of the Revuebar creating remains in location, visible behind a screen of perforated brickwork. By evening, lighting animates these two overlapping surfaces.
Photography is by Jack Hobhouse unless otherwise stated. Key image is by Tom Lee.