Last summer (2010) a derelict petrol station on Clerkenwell Road was transformed into a hand-built cinema celebrating the extravagance and ceremony of the picture palace.
Primarily constructed using donated and found materials; The Cineroleum was an improvisation of the decadent interiors that greeted audiences during cinema's golden age. Popcorn, paper tickets, elaborate signage and flip-down seats collectively recreated the familiar excitement of cinema-going.
Enclosed by an ornate curtain strung from the forecourt roof, The Cineroleum was hosting screenings from sundown four nights a week. With a programme of off-beat classics that celebrate the social experience of watching the big screen, stars from Buster Keaton to Barbarella flickered, danced and shot their way over The Cineroleum screen. Just as the drive-ins of 1950's America brought cinema out from its enclosures and into suburbia, The Cineroleum was a street-side cinema that is truly exposed to the city.
The project has been conceived and built by a collective of young artists, designers and architects committed to the creative re-use of urban spaces. With 4,000 petrol stations currently lying derelict in the UK, this pilot project demonstrates the potential for their transformation as exciting and unusual spaces for public use.