Many owners of independent cinemas across the UK have established their businesses in former cinema or theatre buildings that may have been closed for many years before they were revived and brought back into use. A lot of these buildings will still have had the original seats from when they first opened, and these will have been a welcome fixture to owners wanting to offer an authentic vintage feel in their new establishment.
Those that are in modern buildings may have had brand new seating installed whilst others will have sourced second-hand seats; either to recreate a traditional style, or simply to keep costs down.
Whilst a lot of traditional style seating may unfortunately have been ripped out and disposed of in times past, vintage cinema seats are now fashionable and sought after. Look on auction sites and antiques shops across the UK and you will see a wide selection of restored cinema seats for sale.
If you run an independent cinema that is still furnished with its original or vintage seating and your venue is need of a revamp, it’s often not necessary to replace the seats, even if they are showing signs of severe wear and tear. Refurbishment can be a more cost-effective option which also allows you to retain an original or unique style. Here we take a look at some examples of how restored cinema seats have helped transform UK movie theatres and the processes involved in the transformations.
From dusty and disused to restored and renewed
Above left, the auditorium seating in this disused cinema was covered in dust after the building had stood empty for many years. Above right, following refurbishment, it’s hard to believe the restored cinema seats had ever looked anything but grand.
The seating in this old cinema building was revived to its original glory thanks to reupholstery with new seat foams and fabric, and sanding and painting of metalwork. This is a great example of how restored cinema seats can help give a venue a new lease of life and proof that no matter what the condition old seats are in, it can often be possible to restore them.
From shabby to chic with reupholstery
Seats and arms are usually the first areas on any type of auditorium chairs to show signs of wear and tear. After years of daily usage they can start to become threadbare and look shabby. You can see in the two close-up shots above left how the art deco seats in this venue had become just that.
They had previously been reupholstered with some of the original wooden arms being covered over. The velvet fabric on the end of the arms and seat edges had worn through and some of the seats had been patched up with tape.
Despite the poor condition these old seats were in, the structure of the seats was still perfectly robust and it was clear that with a little care and attention they could look beautiful once again.
The seats were stripped back to their frames, new foams were used on both the seats and backs which were then reupholstered in a rich red velvet similar to the original colour fabric. The under-seat boards and arms were sanded and stained a walnut colour whilst the gold frames were lightly sanded and repainted. The striking end result of this transformation can be seen above right.
Restoring ornate metal castings
Although auditorium seating is designed to be robust and hard-wearing, after decades (or in some cases, more than a century) of usage, even the highest quality vintage seating can be subject to some damage. Whilst foams and fabric can easily be replaced, ornate metal castings are often unique and not something that can be bought off the shelf.
Thankfully, it is possible to recreate them, and any missing or damaged end panels can be replaced and painted to match the originals, as can be seen here.
All types of seating can be restored
If your cinema has something a bit different than the typical style auditorium seats, it’s still possible to have them restored in just the same way. The seats on the back row of the theatre/cinema pictured above had a continuous padded panel along the wall to provide back support whilst the rest of the auditorium had standard style seats. This wall of seating was also refurbished to match the others with a new purple velvet fabric replacing the previous blue.
Pictured below left is the stalls area of a theatre where banquet style seating and swivel chairs allow audiences to enjoy a meal prior to a show. Below right are love seats on the back row of the circle. These different types of seats are all pictured here following refurbishment.
These are just a few examples of how seating restoration can help transform your cinema auditoria and how restored cinema seats can make such a big difference to your venue and of course your audiences.
Evertaut has worked with independent cinemas and theatres across the UK to carefully renovate and restore their auditorium seating. In addition to a full range of refurbishment services, Evertaut also designs, manufactures and installs new cinema and theatre seating. If you’re unsure of whether to have your cinema seats restored or replaced with new, why not explore both options? It costs nothing to get a quotation and there’s no obligation in doing so. This will allow you to assess what’s involved in each process and compare the costs before making a final decision.
** COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the leisure and entertainment industry across the world with venues having been forced to close. We fully understand as a result of this ongoing crisis that many cinemas have had to cancel refurbishment plans or put them on hold but we also know that some of the clients we have been working with are using this time to get work done prior to reopening. If you want to explore the option of restoring your cinema seats, please get in touch for a no-obligation quotation. **