New study shows
Home cinemas have developed into sophisticated VIP club lounges complete with cocktail bars, wine cellars and night-club style spaces say Wetherell in a review of the evolution of private cinemas in Mayfair’s finest luxury homes.
Wetherell highlight that home cinemas were first developed in the 1940s and 1950s in the United States and Britain, when playing movies at home became popular with upper-class families and celebrities when the Kodak 8mm film projector equipment was developed.
In 1942 Franklin Roosevelt installed a 42 seat private cinema in the White House and in the 1950s he was copied in the US by Elvis, John Wayne and Liberace, who all installed private cinemas in their homes. In London in 1951 the Duchess of Argyll had a private projection room installed in her Mayfair mansion at 48 Upper Grosvenor Street and in 1953 HLM The Queen Mother installed a private cinema in Clarence House. However up until the 1980s, private cinema rooms at home had to rely on expensive and fiddly film projectors and so remained the haunt of celebrities and VVIPs.
However, during the 1980s the development of VHS videos and large format television screens allowed for the much wider development of private home cinemas in luxury homes across the UK and USA, with the rooms dressed with movie-theatre style tiered seating facing a large cinema-like screen.
Wetherell highlight that by the 2000s home cinemas or media rooms had become essential lifestyle features in Mayfair’s finest houses, mews and mansions whilst the best newly built apartment developments had a shared media room/cinema, which residents could book via a concierge.
Over the last five years, Wetherell observe that the best new or newly refurbished luxury homes are having VIP club lounges installed, rather than standard home cinemas/media rooms.
Designed to bring the ambience and amenities of a VIP private member’s club like Alfreds, The Arts Club or Soho House into a home, these club lounges are typically 300 sqft in size (twice the size of the average British living room) have a home cinema and lounge seating, and are also equipped with a cocktail bar and bar stools; kitchenette and fitted cabinets for food, popcorn and sweets, humidor rooms and champagne/wine display and serving facilities.
For houses priced above £10 million in Mayfair Wetherell calculate that 70 per cent have a private home cinema/media room, whilst another 20 per cent have VIP club lounge, with the remaining 10 per cent having a large cinema-like TV screen set in bespoke joinery in the main reception room. Above £20 million and the number of homes with a VIP club lounge rises to 60 per cent, whilst virtually all homes at this quality level have some sort of spacious private cinema or dedicated media room space.
Peter Wetherell, Chief Executive of Wetherell says: “When the Duchess of Argyll and HM The Queen Mother installed private cinemas in their homes during the 1950s it was seen as the height of luxury and refinement. Fast forward to today, and home cinemas are viewed as a standard feature in Mayfair, and the benchmark has now been raised so that having a VIP club lounge is seen as the “must have” lifestyle amenity.”