15 March 2020

Odeon Holloway – update on renovations (part1)

The Odeon Holloway is being renovated.
The info boards around the hoardings show that they are reinstating much of the original Art Deco colour sceme and re-opening the restaurant area on the frst floor behind the big tall windows.
That's great.
I was hoping that they'd out up free-standing letters on the exterior as per when it was a Gaumont cinema (see below). Or some big neon letters would be nice.
But, recently, the new street-facing signage was revealed:

Odeon Holloway Road, N7, January 2020
Oh how disappointing. An opportunity missed. How is this signage in-keeping with the Art Deco style of the building?!
These days, we have laser cutting and digital technology, LCD screens and lighting, and moving graphics, so couldn't something more evocative have been installed here?
Odeon's designers have simply (by which I mean 'lazily') repurposed a big flat space that, in the early days of the cinema, was used to advertise films or events that were showing or coming soon. This would have involved men climbing up and down ladders; something that is not possible in these days of health and safety.
OK, reinventing the space is fine, but this big bland blue panel is, for me, a wasted opportunity. Note that the inside of the building as still going to be predominantly Odeon blue which is so not how the building looked in the late 1930s and totally at odds with the company's suggestion of a return to the sumptuous surroundings of the past.
Odeon's brand lock-up is here slapped in the middle of the blue panel but it is restricted in size by the height of the panel. And, as such, lacking in impact. There's more blue than brand. More laminate than logo.
This is a horrid, unbalanced, 'logo' anyway – the LUXE section and rules take up more space than the company name – that's just plain silly. It looks like the design project was given to a junior or someone on work experience. The 'designers' do not look to have actually considered how this logo device would work when placed on different shapes and formats. It's fairly normal practice to consider the options and create a few versions of a brand to allow for the various places where it might be applied. This lazy, one size fits all, approach is sure to be happening on Odeon's other sites too.
Going past another Odeon Luxe in Putney recently, I noticed the design and layout of the elements there is different – there are no horizontal lines. Therefore, Odeon don't appear to have a standard logo/lock-up usage guidelines which is poor in itself but means there is not excuse for this half-arsed Holloway layout. 
I have been working on signage projects for years, polishing many turds over the decades, and could have made this look so much better. Every time I walk past this building, and that's almost daily, I mentally rearrange the logo elements to create a better layout. I'd have created an alternatve, better-balanced, lock-up by making the ODEON letters almost twice the size with LUXE* slipped in underneath (at this size) but with rules either side rather than above and below.
UPDATE (part2): the building has had a facelift – oh dear – see more here

Anyway, enough of the disappointment... below is a pic of how the cinema looked in the year it first opened.
And lots more pics here:
*Luxe – I assume this means luxury with those big sofa-style chairs with receptacles for drinks etc. Call me old-fashioned, but prefer I like to sit properly on seats/chairs. I find the new seating uncomfortable, too deep back to front. I have been known to take a cushion with me to support my lower back! And don't get me started on popcorn and all that noisy munching and slurping....!

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Thanks, Jane