Liberty Cinema
Colombo 3, Sri Lanka

Client: EAP Films & Theaters Private Limited
Status: Complete
Year: 2005
Budget: Withheld
Project type: Arts & entertainment
Size: 12,400 ft2
Photo credits: Waruna Gomiz

Originally designed by Indian architect Herbert E. Gonsal and opened in the early 1950s, Liberty Cinema was the first of its kind with the comforts of air conditioning, plush theatre seating and box facilities. Over the years, commercial development around Kollupitiya node, the Liberty Circle, has been concentrated around this art deco-styled edifice making it a landmark. In 2005, Liberty Cinema was acquired by E.A.P. Films & Theatres Private Ltd. and closed for renovations.

With limited funds, the scope was restricted to interior renovations of the auditorium and other public areas. Despite budget limits, the building’s exterior did receive a much needed and well-executed facelift. The central air conditioning and sound systems, auditorium seating and acoustics were also upgraded, adding to Liberty Cinema’s charm.

The redesign was inspired by murals on the double-height feature wall of the foyer, which were created by an artist known as “Baptist Cook.” Depicting the Garden of Eden, the murals were restored to reflect the cinema’s new look. A combination of traditional Sri Lankan and contemporary art was incorporated into the new design. Ambient levels of lighting were introduced on textured surfaces to capture the beauty of shadows inside the sculptured interior. Along the confectionery bars and restroom lobbies, higher levels of lighting were provided for contrast and functionality.