June 14, 2012
| by Grant Clauser
Inspiration for home theaters comes from many different places, but a favorite movie seems to be a recurring theme among enthusiasts. We’ve seen Star Wars and Star Trek theaters, Terminator theaters, Tomb Raider theaters and even a Godfather theater.
For Sal in Northern Italy, it was the 1927 German classic Metropolis by Fritz Lang that planted the seed which eventually developed into a two year-long theater building project.
This is Sal’s second home theater project. The first he built in his other home in Southern Italy in 2003. He learned a lot from that experience and declared that no compromise was going to mar this new endeavor.
Sal says he’d been a fan of Metropolis for years and is particularly fond of the futuristic vision of the film set. “I think that imagining the future is the hardest thing in life,” he says. Throughout the space he added elements to pay homage to the classic, including monoliths resembling the city skyscrapers, a mega poster that represented nine important moments in the movie, custom doors with posters of the movie and many fine details reminiscent of this silent masterpiece of the twenties.
Much of Metropolis the film takes place in the dank underworld of the workers’ city, so it might seem appropriate that the Metropolis theater was built into a basement. However, there’s nothing dystopian about the end result. The theater project, all 300 square feet of it (about half is the theater room) includes a food court with a bar and diner-style seating, a foyer, the theater operations/equipment room and the theater itself. All the work was done by Sal and his father-in-law. The father-in-law was particularly helpful with mechanics, while Sal is well-versed in woodworking, electronics and audio/video systems. An aunt even chipped in by contributing some of the upholstery work.
To get started, Sal used a CAD application for the architectural design and a predictive audio CAD application ensure the space was acoustically optimized. The design takes advantage of acoustic materials including absorbers and diffusers
The biggest problems he encountered in the process were largely structural, but fine-tuning of the acoustics, as well as the system programming, were also challenges.
Once the room construction was completed, Sal set out selecting and installing the equipment. For audio, he selected Rotel amps with an Onkyo receiver for the processing. The Rotel amps feed a set of Klipsch Ultra 2 speakers. The image is provided courtesy of an Epson LCD 3D projector and an anamorphic lens aimed at a Seymour acoustic screen. He controls the system with a Logitech Harmony 885 universal remote.
Sal and his family of two young children all enjoy the room, and who wouldn’t? That doesn’t mean that the project is over. He’s already contemplating an LED projector or maybe moving into 4K.
Check out the slideshow for more scenes inside the Metropolis Home Theater.
Location : Northern Italy
Room Size: 300 square feet (about half devoted to the theater itself)
Project Time: 2 years
Year Completed: 2012
Cost: about $85,000
Photography by Gualino Photographic Studio
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had audio training from Home Acoustics Alliance and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.