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Universal Cineplex Plaza
Universal City, CA


Bob Hale
Frank Clementi
Mark Motonaga
Julien Harcc


Our re-design of this cinema plaza makes it the focal point of the famous Universal CityWalk retail and dining center. The plaza succeeds on two levels: as an inviting gathering space and entry to the Cineplex and the second-story food court on regular days; and on special days as a large, outdoor event space that accommodates music performances, movie premieres, awards ceremonies, holiday programs, and live television broadcasts.

Five twisting stainless-steel towers define the boundaries of this 12,000-sq.-ft. space, housing within them programmable, state-of-the-art electrical, lighting, and video systems. They take their cue from the gigantic guitar that marks the entrance to the adjacent Hard Rock Café. The guitar assumes the role of the sixth tower, amplifying and completing the circle.
The 42-foot-high towers are wide at the top, but taper as they reach grade level so as not to obstruct views of the new permanent stage. A large LED video board above the stage broadcasts performances during outdoor events, and videos on non-event days.

To complete the picture, we designed a new façade for the movie theater featuring a still image from "The Bride of Frankenstein" rendered in a dot pattern on perforated aluminum panels. The image establishes the theater as a new movie palace steeped in Universal Studios' long entertainment tradition. A "pixel cloud," a horizontal curtain of light formed by a series of suspended LED dots, connects the cinemas with the stage. The LED dots glow with changing colors, all controlled from the surrounding towers.