This article was originally featured in Globe St.
Cinemas are quickly becoming one of the most sought-after anchor tenants at retail centers—because they drive foot-traffic and increase the stay time at a center. As a result, this tenant niche is informing design plans and strategy in new retail development. We sat down with Mitra Esfandiari, senior principal at Retail Design Collaborative, to talk about how cinemas are changing retail design and the design trends inside cinema spaces.
GlobeSt.com: How are you approaching the design for these spaces and including them in new development?
Esfandiari: Due to the rise of at-home online streaming services, cinema operators are offering more meaningful experiences for consumers to keep box office sales up. Nowadays, offering popcorn and soda isn’t quite enough to draw a large audience to theaters, so there’s been a huge shift in the industry that has made a large impact on cinemas as a whole.
We approach design for these spaces based both on consumer trends, and the ever-evolving cinema operator prototypes. Design considerations are taken towards creating a more unique destination to provide for a longer and more comfortable experience- both within the lobby and common areas of a theater, but also into the theater itself.
Our goals are to integrate cinemas into the broader retail environment. By creating destination places where the consumer wants to gather, we’re act as the “glue” between retail and cinema.
For theater design, we collaborate with operators to provide unique design solutions in response to their brand identity or collaborate with them to help redefine their brand in response to the evolving trends in cinema industry.