Following on from the success at Catford Mews for The Really Local Group in 2019, their second cinema-anchored venue, The Biscuit Factory in Reading has finally opened after a construction and operations programme disrupted by Covid.
The space we have created for The Biscuit Factory has been repurposed and reshaped from what was a stockroom for Argos at first floor and part of Broad Street Mall. It was a dark box, perfect for conversion into cinema but not for the social and community aspect of the Biscuit Factory which is about gathering, meeting, entertainment and creativity. In response we created a large window at the front to bring daylight into the main space of the Room and opened up the corner above the entrance to create a Loggia or terrace that would bring the social space outside. The large window and the loggia create visual connections and permeability to the street below and communicate the new purpose of the space, inviting people up.
The three cinemas have been designed with large screens, optimised viewing from comfortable seats, great sound systems and filtered ventilation systems. The largest screen is 92 seats and two others 60 seats each
What was a closed, inaccessible, dark space has been transformed into an open, light, accessible amenity for the community of Reading - an injection of positivity for a post pandemic future - local, creative and sociable.
This is another example of Really Local Group's aim to integrate within existing local social infrastructures and introduce a cultural program within the local community.
The Biscuit Factory won the AJ Retrofit Award 2022 in the Hotel, Retail and Leisure category.
Interior concept by Lyttleton Yates
Construction by Really Local Developments/Chris Tabard
Pictures by Will Pryce, Melissa Pentecost and Richard Parkes