Cinepalego takes place in Kabukicho, a nightlife and entertainment mecca located in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The project will introduce a frame shift in cinema going by addressing the following issues:
1. Despite the explosion in the number of screens in the form of Cinema Complexes in the past decade (totaling 2723 in 2009 accounting for 80% of screens nationwide), cinema attendance has not shown any visible rise. Home viewing and other forms of entertainment are replacing cinema going.
2. Cinema Complexes draw audiences away from the local cinemas, forcing closure of many mini-theaters that are historically and contextually unique to the area. As a result, culture is lost and replaced by generic business-oriented Cinema Complexes.
3. Due to the above reasons, Kabukicho, once the center of entertainment in Tokyo, is in a state of depression, marked by a series of closures of local cinemas and theaters in the recent years.
Cinepalego is an urban intervention, utilizing the vacant rooftop spaces in Kabukicho in order to create a network of mini-theaters that will spontaneously emerge and provide a variety of social spaces for people.
The act of cinema going will be completely redefined, becoming seamlessly integrated into day-to-day life.
The intervention will not only rejuvenate the experience of cinema but also energize the urban fabric of Kabukicho. In other words, Cinepalego will be a total integration of cinema into the physical, social and economic fabric of the urban environment.
After the war, Kabukicho was conceived with a master plan by Suzuki Kihe who imagined the space to be an entertainment hub consisting of theaters, cinemas, and dance halls. With the high growth of the Japanese economy, Kabukicho quickly became a bustling entertainment district. However, the emergence of cinema complex has led to the closure of several local cinemas in the neighborhood, threatening the lively and eclectic environment of Kabukicho.
Cinepalego cinemas work in conjunction with a dedicated mobile application CinepaleGO. Once registered, the user can enter a set of preferences of movies i.e. genre, director, style. The application gathers information real time on the users currently in the Kabukicho area, triggering cinematic events around the region. The user is able to choose from a list of cinemas catered to his/her preference. In addition, each cinema will have an estimated attendance number and the available services offered in the buildings underneath.
With this, the cinemas bring together people with similar interests, encouraging chance encounters of cinemagoers. This, we shall call, a spontaneous cinema; making the act of watching less of an individual undertaking and more of a communal and social experience in which ideas are exchanged and friendships are forged.
Occupying the vacant space on the rooftop, the cinemas will be closely integrated with the businesses underneath. The types of services are divided into four categories: restaurant, entertainment, 18+, and gambling. Instead of attempting to compete with other forms of services and leisure activities, the cinema absorbs and enhances the benefits of other forms of entertainment. The businesses will be responsible for maintaining the cinema and providing necessary services, and in return, the cinema will attract more people to the building, hence improving their business.