Ultimate Picture Palace, Oxford, UK

The Ultimate Picture Palace is a historic grade II listed cinema situated in Jeune Street off the Cowley Road in East Oxford. When first opened in 1911 it was Oxford’s first purpose-built cinema.

Through the Oxford Preservation Trust, dpa were asked by the owner Becky Hallsmith, to propose a new lighting scheme for the historic façade and entrance area which were due for refurbishment this year.

Following initial meetings with the client, together with a lighting trial on-site, dpa identified the main architectural components that would benefit lighting.

The design was to highlight the architectural features, i.e. the columns and façade panels. For energy efficiency and low maintenance reasons, the client was happy to pay the extra capital cost an all LED lighting scheme required.

The choice of lighting was kept to indirect and low glare sources. Recessed LED downlights were used to light the sides of the columns and provide general lighting to the entrance area. Concealed linear LED uplighting created a soft wash of light to the horizontal lines of the facade. It was also used to illuminate the new signage and highlight the façade at high level, as well as light the walls on top of cornices over the entrance doors.

The design intent was to improve the first impression of the cinema’s visitors by reinforcing the identity and character of the cinema at night.