Home Theater Walls Serve Up Stunning Sunset

This Florida Keys home theater incorporates the owner's sunset photography into acoustic panel walls.


Credit: Andrew Trask

Every movie night in this Florida Keys home theater begins with a blazing sunset—even when it’s raining. That’s because the blazing colors adorning this theater come from the real thing, as seen and captured through the Nikon D80 digital camera lens of the homeowner.

When the folks at Cinema Design Group (CDGi) were working with him during the design process of the theater build, it presented a perfect opportunity to highlight the owner’s beloved Keys. Plus the photos could deliver a personal and dramatic touch while enhancing the 14-by-19-foot room’s sound quality with their use for acoustic wall panels.

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“We brand the acoustic panels as CinemaScapes. The images are reproduced on acoustically transparent fabric, then wrapped around our panel,” explains CDGi president Brad Bergoine. “We originally didn’t start out with a CinemaScape. However, during [the design process] we go through dozens of past work, in an exercise we like to call ‘what do you like/what don’t you like’ in an attempt to dial in a design direction. The homeowner enjoyed the idea of [using] his own images—the design was an opportunity to tell his story and his passion for photography and the Keys.”

The CinemaScape panels enhance a powerful Genelec 7.2-channel surround-sound system—installed as part of the work done by local custom electronics firm Protech e2—by incorporating CDGi’s own diffusion method within fiberglass panels, while the room’s recessed columns offer additional acoustical diffusion.

The hard part was cobbling together the images, which were taken at different times and at varying angles, into what became a cohesive “window” view on the walls.

“Andrew Trask (our creative director) spent a fair amount of time with the homeowner going over images, and Andrew invests time in PhotoShop to tweak and color-adjust the images for approval,” says Bergoine. “We print out swatches at the final size to show resolution and clarity.”

The active speaker system from Genelec eliminates the need for costly or bulky amplifiers, while a Pioneer Elite receiver acts as a preamp. The LCR speakers and two subwoofers reside in the speaker below the screen, while surround speakers hide behind the wall panels’ acoustically transparent fabric.

Adding to the already lush ambiance, columns are actually recessed niches with LED backlighting to create a subtle lighting effect. For comfort during movie nights, CDGi’s custom seating features imported Swedish leather. A JVC DLA-RS60U projector fires onto a 120-inch Stewart Filmscreen StudioTek 130 fixed screen, while an RTI home control system allows the homeowner to operate everything in the room with his iPad.

And to top off all those picture-perfect sunsets? How about a perfect starry night sky—the fiber-optic ceiling lighting represents an actual Hubble telescope view.

System & Room Design
Cinema Design Group
Boca Raton, Fla.

Systems Integrator
Protech e2
Key Largo, Fla.

More great theaters designed by CDGi:
Rise of the Jedi Theater
Theater Overcomes Glass Door, Office Space
A.J. Burnett Gets All-Star Home Theater


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