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Video: Exclusive–Inside Theo’s Dream Theater

A few months ago, we talked to Theo Kalomirakis about the theaters he was creating for his new home in Greece, including an outdoor venue that was a work in progress at the time. Aside from a couple of small touches, the latter space is now finished and in frequent use. Meant to evoke not just the open-air theaters that are common in Greece but his very first home theater, which he built on the balcony of his parents’ apartment in Athens when he was a teenager, the outdoor theater has a special importance for Theo. He’s even given it the same name as that first effort: Cine Katinaki.

 

Most people doing an outdoor theater would just buy a cheap projector and throw up a portable screen, but Theo has lavished the same level of attention on this space that he devoted to his indoor theater and that he invests in his private commissions. Cine Katinaki displays the signature design flair and carefully wrought details found in the more lavish works that established his reputation while retaining an unassuming simplicity that reflects its childhood origins.

An Epson 5050UB 4K projector supplies the image for a 12-foot custom-made steel-construction screen, with sound provided by a 5.1 Klipsch outdoor speaker system powered by an NAD T 758 receiver. The main source component is a Zappiti Mini 4K HDR movie player, which pulls movies from a Zappiti server in the indoor theater. Other content sources include a Roku Ultra, an Apple TV, and a Kaleidescape player with DVD drive.

 

Since we shot our video tour, Theo has installed accent lights to illuminate the retro ads to either side of the screen, 

pretty much bringing the theater to completion. And even though there are plenty of beautiful outdoor theaters for cinephiles to choose from in Athens—Cine Paris, for instance, features a dramatic view of the Acropolis—Theo’s Cine Katinaki has quickly become a much sought after movie-viewing destination.

Michael Gaughn

Michael GaughnThe Absolute Sound, The Perfect Vision, Wideband, Stereo Review, Sound & Vision, The Rayva Roundtablemarketing, product design, some theater designs, a couple TV shows, some commercials, and now this.

Cineluxe Trendsetters: Steve Haas

Steve Haas is a member of the very small group of people who know how to put the ultimate acoustic polish on a luxury entertainment space. As he discussed in “Acoustic Designer Steve Haas on Media Rooms,” there are all kinds of ways to make a high-end room sound good, even great. But it takes special training, experience, and acuity to know how to wring the last drop of performance out of an acoustically complicated space.

 

While Steve has built a reputation from his work on challenging, high-profile public venues like New York’s Statue of Liberty Museum, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, he is equally well known for his work on private rooms—especially home theaters, and especially his work with Theo Kalomirakis (which both he and Theo discussed in “Inside the Ultimate Home Entertainment Space”).

 

We recently had a chance to talk to Steve about what work has been like during the pandemic, when people are spending more time using their entertainment spaces and are actively making plans to upgrade but are reluctant to have people who aren’t members of their immediate family in their homes. We also talked about the need for good acoustics in rooms other than entertainment spaces (which he has also discussed in “Every Room Deserves Great Acoustics”).

 

This video also touches on one of his favorite subjects—private concerts in people’s homes, which have almost come to a complete stop because of the virus. Steve had so much to say about this, and the large potential market for virtual private performances, that we’re going to make his comments the subject of a followup video.

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CINELUXE TRENDSETTERS

Cineluxe Trendsetters: Theo Kalomirakis

So much has been written about Theo Kalomirakis and his body of work—the subject of two bestselling coffeetable books and countless articles and videos—that there’s not much left to say. Except maybe that, for all of that attention, people still don’t have a good bead on exactly how innovative and influential his efforts have been, or that his theaters spring primarily not from an interest in gear or interior design but from a deep love for movies and the art of watching them.

Theo’s work is a sincere and natural extension of that love, which goes well beyond just being a fan to being someone who understands and appreciates the deep wellsprings that feed the art of the movies. And because of that almost naive sincerity, Theo in casual conversation is the same Theo you get in an interview on camera. He would make a lousy corporate spokesman because he always says exactly what he thinks and feels—which is why he has always been the best possible representative for the industry he gave birth to and continues to inspire, and for everything that’s great about watching movies at home.

 

We had a chance to do a a brief interview with Theo in his temporary apartment overlooking the Hudson River right before he departed for his new home in Greece—a move that included dismantling and shipping the entire private cinema in his New York City apartment to be reconstructed in his summer residence. We discussed the pandemic’s impact on moviewatching, how he was faring with an ad hoc system in his temporary digs, and whether 8K will represent the same significant stride forward as did the progression from VHS to DVD to Blu-ray to UHD.

Here’s hoping Theo will be back in the States sometime soon so we can record a more exhaustive, definitive exchange on his history, theaters, and legacy.

CINELUXE TRENDSETTERS

Cineluxe Trendsetters: Tim Sinnaeve

Given all the brilliant art that’s been created using video since the technology was introduced—going on eight decades now since the commercial launch of TV, and five since the appearance of video recorders—and also given the culture’s gluttonous and largely indiscriminate appetite for video content, it was inevitable video art would start showing up on TV and

projection screens.

 

But tossing that art into the same aesthetic shredder with soulless blockbusters, assembly-line sitcoms, echo-chamber news channels, and morons eating chili peppers is to reduce it to the level of bland diversion. So it was just as inevitable that a more discriminating audience, realizing the potential of the latest video displays and sources, would start yearning for gallery-quality art installations at home.

 

Enter Barco, with its reputation for creating ultimate-performance video products—which has led to their projectors being deployed in elaborate, cutting-edge art 

spaces such as the Carrières de Lumières in Provence (shown in “Art Walls: The Next Big Thing?”) and Artechouse in New York City’s Chelsea Market (shown in the video below). So it’s not surprising it’s now being called into service to provide the imaging for the first fully-fledged residential digital-art installations.

 

It is a little surprising, though, to see a tech company doing so much to lead the art-wall charge—thanks in large part to the efforts of Barco Residential managing director Tim Sinnaeve. But Sinnaeve seems to sense that this is an opportunity—

Above are some fragments of Refik Anadol’s Machine Hallucinations captured on a cellphone at NYC’s Artechouse gallery and cobbled together (with apologies to the artist) to provide a sense of the potential and appeal of domestic art-wall installations

poised at the point of intersection of no-compromise video and luxury integration, architecture, and design—to have video displays seen not just as a means of viewing indiscriminate entertainment but to become a more edifying and organic part of the home.

 

In the interview above, Sinnaeve provides a crash-course introduction to art walls, discussing the new tools they provide artists, how they’re becoming

a way for architects and interior designers to not just tolerate but embrace technology, and how we may be at the very beginning of a wave that could completely redefine the meaning of video in the home.

CINELUXE TRENDSETTERS

Cineluxe Trendsetters: Al Patel & Cortney Combs

Based in Port Chester, NY, Enhanced Home serves both the spacious luxury homes surrounding New York City in Westchester County, Connecticut, and the Hamptons, and upscale but space-limited residences in the New York metro area—a challenge that has led to the company becoming equally adept at creating both dedicated home theaters and high-performance multiuse/media rooms.

 

This versatility is reflected in company principal Alpesh Patel’s new Westchester home, which he also uses as a showcase for Enhanced Home’s work. The sprawling residence features both a traditional dedicated theater and a variety of multiuse entertainment spaces, including a gym with a Steinway Lyngdorf audio system, a kitchen with James speakers and Samsung’s The Frame TV, and an elaborate outdoor entertainment system.

 

In the interview above, sales & marketing director Cortney Combs joins Patel to talk about the rising demand for high-performance media rooms and outdoor systems, the curious launch of 8K, the increasing interest in smart tech among architects and interior designers, and the promise of art walls.

CINELUXE TRENDSETTERS

Cineluxe Trendsetters: Ed Gilmore

Ed Gilmore’s company, Gilmore’s Sound Advice, is known as one of the premier luxury integration firms in the intensely competitive New York City market. In business since 1991, it has seen high-end integration evolve dramatically, moving well 

beyond AV, as things like automated lights and shades and whole-house automation have come to the fore.

 

Given the notorious space constraints on even the most luxurious Big Apple spaces, Ed has had to be inventive when creating high-performance entertainment rooms, adapting the standards of reference-quality home theaters to limited, non-traditional areas—a resourcefulness amply on display in the innovative Tribeca loft profiled here.

 

Clients can get a taste of that same inventiveness at the Sound Advice showroom, located near the Hudson River in Manhattan’s midtown. A former art storage vault that mimics the layout of a typical upscale loft, the space displays cutting-edge solutions to typical urbanite living issues, including a large open-plan living area featuring a massive Planar video wall.

 

In the interview above, Ed talks about the emerging trends of voice control and “tunable” lighting, the misguided reliance on apps to control complex home systems, the importance of digital room correction, the premature launch of 8K, and the promise of video walls.

CINELUXE TRENDSETTERS

Cineluxe Trendsetters: Katherine Spiller

Steinway Lyngdorf is a relatively new brand, but it has quickly surged to the forefront of luxury audio systems, offering audiophile-quality speakers and electronics with a distinctive, yet restrained, design rooted in the look and feel of Steinway pianos.

 

The company’s most striking product may be its remote control (shown below), which completely breaks the mold of control design to arrive at something cutting-edge, intuitive, and even fun to use that’s also a distinctive evocation of the Steinway legacy.

 

Its RoomPerfect digital room-correction system has earned the respect of seasoned electronics professionals, as much for its

ease of use compared to other, finickier high-end correction systems as for its impressive results.

 

In the video above, we talk to Steinway Lyngdorf’s director of US sales & marketing, Katherine Spiller, about the recent resurgence of luxury audio systems, the increasing role of interior design in high-end audio & video installations, how to create a no-compromise cinema in a small Manhattan space, and the virtues of RoomPerfect.

Cineluxe Trendsetters: Katharine Spiller

CINELUXE TRENDSETTERS

Cineluxe Trendsetters: Cory Reistad

SAV Digital Environments is headquartered in far-flung Bozeman, MT, pop. 45,000. And yet it’s become one of the largest and most influential luxury integrators in the country.

 

It hasn’t hurt that SAV has been involved with the Yellowstone Club since Day One. Doing the integration work for that sprawling enclave of luxury vacation homes in nearby Big Sky gave the company a chance to hone its skills at creating complex systems for large, entertainment-centric environments. It’s also helped that Bozeman has transitioned over the past few years from classic western cowtown to thriving tech community.

 

But, more than anything, it has been SAV’s ability to seize on these opportunities and create solid, flexible home systems backed by exceptional service and support that has brought them into the top tier of integrators

 

In the video above, we talk to founder and president Cory Reistad about, among other things, his clients’ preference for cutting-edge media rooms, the importance of creating bulletproof systems, and his renewed interest in Kaleidescape.

CINELUXE TRENDSETTERS

Inside “Forbidden Broadway”

Cineluxe is fortunate to have a number of writers whose expertise extends well beyond their ability to comment on the latest trends in luxury home entertainment. To take one truly exceptional example, contributor Gerard Alessandrini is the creator, 

writer, and director of the longest-running musical revue in history, Forbidden Broadwayan accomplishment that earned him a well-deserved Tony.

 

A spoof of all the latest Broadway shows and an incisive satire of musical theater in general, Forbidden Broadway has had productions around the world, including England and Japan, and has been the launching pad for many well-known actors, including Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander.

 

We recently had the chance to take a backstage look at the creation of the show’s latest edition, Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation, which ran at New York’s Triad and York theaters before preparing for a national tour. In 

the video above, Gerard provides glimpses of the new show and its amazingly talented cast, while also reflecting on the show’s storied history and enduring legacy.

Inside "Forbidden Broadway"

The cast of Forbidden Broadway: The Next GenerationChris Collins-Pisano, Jenny Lee Stern, Joshua Turchin,
Aline Mayagoitia, and Immanuel Houston. 

From Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation: Jenny Lee Stern’s virtuoso turn as Judy Garland offering her critique of Renee Zellweger’s portrayal of her in Judy.

Cineluxe Trendsetters: Sam Cavitt

In the second in our series of interviews with the people who define and drive luxury home entertainment, we talk to Sam Cavitt of Paradise Theater, which has offices in Maui and San Diego. 

 

Sam is part of a small group of home theater specialists who don’t fit completely into the traditional categories of technology integrator, acoustical engineer, or interior designer. His main function is to bring together and coordinate the best people in the various trades necessary for creating no-compromise luxury private cinemas.

 

Believing that the standards for experiencing entertainment at home have fallen as people have settled for good-enough rooms and systems, Sam has a launched a Cinema Connoisseur initiative to educate the public on what it means to have an exceptional movie-watching environment.

 

In the interview above, he talks about how commercial theaters no longer represent the gold standard for movie watching, the benefits of an expertly crafted private cinema, and his goals for Cinema Connoisseur.

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