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City of London / Barbican Centre








Following from our previous successful project at the Barbican Art Gallery for the same clients, RUFFARCHITECTS were appointed for the refurbishment of the foyer and auditorium spaces at Cinema 1, located on Level -2 of the Barbican Centre. The project aimed to create an enhanced visitor experience through the improvement of the lighting, layout, furniture design and functionality of the space.

We focused on an authentic, high quality refurbishment strategy that improves the visitor’s journey within these spaces, whilst helping to re-establish the original concepts of light, space, perspective and simplicity in this listed building. Using a holistic strategy, we approached this project from a retrofit stance, which is key to our Studio’s approach. The project also aimed to bring this space up-to-date with the wider identity of the Barbican centre, with reference to its original materials, graphic motifs and iconic furniture, tying it in with the experience of the building as a whole. For example, the bespoke light fitting at Level -2 foyer is designed to celebrate the scale of the volumes whilst giving an intimate and identifiable marker. This is seen throughout the Centre, where these markers become your wayfinding, your meeting point and your memory.

RUFFARCHITECTS looked to repair, re-use and re-purpose existing materials wherever possible. Where new was necessary, durability and usability was key in driving its design and selection. We sourced sustainable fabric alternatives, using natural and recycled yarns to ensure hygiene and maintenance standards could be met, and challenged the suppliers and manufactures to go beyond in their offering.

Furniture placement in the foyer is deliberate, curated and part of the setting of the space, similar to the original concept and placement within the Centre. The re-purposing of the original chairs helps ground modern interventions with the quality and timelessness of the space. Minimal new textures and variations are added with modern materials like Valchromat, a natural fibre, non-toxic and organically dyed board for the tables, paired with robust and sustainable products like the brass tops that will age with grace.

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RUFFARCHITECTS_Barbican Cinema 1_Materia
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