Harper Mackay spin-off HM2 has won planning permission and listed building consent to convert a disused 1934 Gaumont Odeon in north London into a nightclub. The Grade II*-listed Wood Green cinema has stood empty for four years following a stint as a bingo hall and now leisure operator Po Na Na is planning to spend almost £1 million on bringing it back into use.
HM2's plans aim to make a virtue of the changing use of the building and will allow for considerable future alterations. Partner Andrew Hanson described the design as 'a fleeting installation to be remodelled when fashion moves on'. The vaulted 10,000m 2space will be broken up by lowlevel curved walls which take their shape from the niches, wall mouldings and round-arched proscenium of what Hanson describes as 'a magnificent example of a 1930s Art Deco interior'. The original architect, W E Trent and Tully, used a style inspired by Schoffler, Sholonbach and Jacobi's Titania-Palast (1928) in Berlin. To stamp the club's modern credentials on the building, the new walls and the floors will be made from textured rubber and the bars will be back-lit and translucent. The principle is to make the dance and bar areas appear a different world to the grandeur of the '30s cinema, Hanson said.
Initially, conservationists at English Heritage and the London Borough of Haringey wanted a restoration in keeping with the original, but Hanson disagreed: 'I simply felt that the stronger the juxtaposition between the styles, the more that visitors would appreciate the original interior.'
The architect has pleased the conservation lobby, however, by reintroducing the orchestral pit which will now feature two podiums for nightclub dancers.