Sound Insulation

Cinema continues to accelerate across Saudi Arabia, with help from Farrat.

Cinema is an established part of social culture across many areas of the world, but in Saudi Arabia where the activity is only just legalised, cinema is an exciting new development and is rapidly growing into a popular social arena.

Since the lifting of the cinema ban in 2017, the Saudi cinema construction industry has accelerated not only in terms of new venue numbers. Venues are being built to ‘wow,’ catering for every audience need and as a result, the region is delivering some of the most exciting and innovative venues the global cinema market has seen.

Growth Locations

As specialists in the acoustic isolation of cinemas, Farrat have supplied high-performance cinema solutions to over 80% of the Saudi cinema markets’ new venues, working with the region’s leading operators including MUVI, VOX, AMC, Reel and Empire.

Cinema development has been largely targeted within the capital city of Riyadh and major population hub, Jeddah, where 28 new venues have been delivered in the last 3 years. Now however, development is starting in smaller cities such as Dammam, Taif and Tabuk as investment spreads across the region.

The first multiplex cinema to be built in Saudi Arabia was built at Riyadh Park Mall. Farrat worked with VOX to integrate our full suite of “PRO” Cinema acoustic isolation solutions which have now become standard in VOX’s multiplexes.

This was shortly followed by a host of sites by MUVI, Saudi Arabia’s home-grown operator. All of which also include Farrat Cine isolation.

saudi map

Following a bumper 2019, everyone took a step back to deal with the Pandemic in 2020. Things are now back at full-speed and Farrat have supplied to 12 new multiplex sites already in 2021. 

The largest cinema in Saudi Arabia is located at the Mall of Arabia in Jeddah – a 15-screen MUVI Cinema that accommodates 1,950 viewers and incorporates Farrat CineFLOOR PRO for the acoustic floating floors, Farrat CineSTEEL PRO for the raked seating isolation and Farrat CineWALL PRO to isolate auditorium partitions.

Future Investment

The Saudi government is currently working to meet its target of opening over 300 cinemas with more than 2,000 screens by 2030, building an industry that would contribute more then 90 billion riyals (over £17 billion) to the economy and create 30,000 new jobs in the process.

Farrat’s Business Development Director, Ryan Arbabi who is very active in the region says, “In the UK, almost every population concentration of at least 50,000 people has at least one multiplex cinema. In Saudi Arabia, there are 46 cities with populations above 50,000 that still do not have a cinema, so there is still lots more to do.

saudi cinema

Our market-leading solutions are clearly favoured in Saudi Arabia, but that is just as much to do with Farrat’s ability to cope with the logistical gymnastics required to operate in the region as it is to provide a quality product”.

For more information on Farrat’s cinema isolation solutions, the Farrat Cine range, and cinema projects we have worked on around the world, contact our team or visit our Cinema Hub here.

#onamission

Senior Project Delivery Manager, Neil Wilson, completes a lap of Farrat’s London projects in aid of charity

As part of our recent winter fundraising campaign – during which Farrat employees collectively covered over 3,000km from our office in Altrincham to reach Santa’s village in Lapland raising funds for 5 charities – Senior Project Delivery Manager, Neil Wilson, completed a jog around London to take in some of our recent projects whilst clocking up his distance.  

Farrat charity event run

Setting out from the Everyman Cinema near Kings Cross (where Farrat CineWALL PRO provides the acoustic isolation for auditorium screens)Neil finished up at the new sustainable Google HQ which is currently under construction and integrates Farrat high-performance bridge bearings. 

On his tour, Neil passed a dozen other Farrat projects, including:  

  • The former Royal Mail location, which was recently converted into 681 high class residential spaces and utilises bespoke Farrat acoustic floating floors to overcome the vibration control challenges that the busy location generates.  
  • A theatre project on St Giles Circus junction in the West End of London, which is surrounded by a tangle of underground tunnels and features another bespoke Farrat floating floor to mitigate noise disturbance. 
Everyman Cinema
Goggle Headquarters
Royal Mail Project
St Giles Circus
  • Ilona Rose House, a mixed-use commercial development comprising of retail, restaurantsroof terraces and pedestrian walkways, which are set to generate much needed employment into the area.  Here Farrat supplied Structural Thermal Breaks to reduce heat loss and mitigate against thermal bridging.
  • VUE Cinema in Leicester Square, which has originally built in 1938, but re-opened in 2017 following a major refurbishment complete with leather reclining seatsSony 4K digital projection and Dolby Atmos sound.  Farrat cinema isolation materials were engineered into the IMAX screen to ensure optimal acoustic isolation and the best possible viewing experience.
  • Queen Street, residential property that utilises the Farrat CineFLOOR system to isolate vibrations from the busy surrounding environment. 
  • Just down the road, another residential project – 60 Curzon Street – where Farrat designed, engineered and manufactured the structural bearings that hold the weight of the load bearing walls above.
  • Claridge’s (building that needs no introduction in London)which underwent a major extension between 2019 and 2020 and where Farrat supplied acoustic pads within a CineFLOOR LITE system to ensure that surrounding hustle and bustle does not interfere with the guest’s comfort.
Leicester Square VUE cinema
Queen Street
60 Curzon Street
Claridges
  • 20 Grosvenor Square, a super prime residential development built between 2014 and 2018.  Farrat worked closely with the project team to not only provided the Structural Thermal Breaks to insulate the building efficiently, but full building vibration isolation system incorporating the Farrat CineFLOOR PRO range to isolate the building from surrounding vibrations, which became an integral part of the entire project.  
  • Neil then passed by the award-winning Royal Academy of Music, where Farrat developed a bespoke acoustic isolation system.  And just a little further along, Regents Crescent, another super prime residential centre where Farrat provided the Structural Thermal Breaks as well as structural bearings and Farrat CineFLOOR PRO for vibration isolation.  

 His last two stops before finishing at the new Google Headquarters were the Royal College of General Practitioners – a 290 seat auditorium with the added complication of being a Grade 2 listed building, with strict regulations to work around – and Cartwright Gardens – central London student accommodation.   

It is amazing to be able to see such huge engineering achievements delivered by Farrat in this one – albeit long – run, and demonstrate how Farrat is playing a key role in developing our nation’s capital; working around networks of underground and overground trains, main roads and surrounding hospitality venues as well as nearby airports, to delight our customers.   

#onamission 

Grosvenor Square
The Angela Burgess Recital Hall
Royal College of General Practitioners
Cartwright Gardens

On a Mission: to acoustically engineer a world-class arts venue in the heart of bustling Manchester

The Factory

 

Currently underway on the site of the old Granada Studio in Manchester, ‘The Factory’ is a £130 million world-class cultural development set to be the new home of the Manchester International Festival. Designed by renowned architects OMA and being delivered by Laing O’Rourke, the new arts venue will host one of Europe’s most ambitious and adventurous year-round creative programs, inspired by the city’s unmatched history of innovation.

Once complete, The Factory is expected to deliver a £1.1bn boost to the city’s economy over a decade.

Its central location is a key attraction; in close proximity to the Museum of Science and Industry, within walking distance of the nearest train, tram, and bus stop, and bordered by busy restaurants and nightlife. However, with this desirable location comes significant vibration and acoustic engineering challenges.

Surrounded by eight railways lines, two high rise towers and two major ‘A’ roads the new venue requires high-performance acoustic and structural vibration isolation on all sides to minimise two-way disturbance.

The Factory Manchester - Location and Noise Sources

Following Farrat’s instruction to design and manufacture bespoke acoustic and vibration isolation solutions for the scheme, Technical Director Ryan Arbabi, describes how there has never been a more significant project for Farrat. 

“The acoustic isolation requirement on The Factory is exceptionally high, the load conditions are varied and complex, and the tolerance is tight.  We are proud to be designing acoustically isolated assemblies that will connect the structural steel frame to a 200mm thick pre-cast concrete acoustic ‘shell’ – something that has never been attempted before”. 

Farrat have supplied 600 individually designed, engineered and manufactured acoustic bearings to date, with another 2,000 predicted to be needed over the course of 2021 for the Warehouse and Theatre – the two key areas of the project.  

 

The Factory Manchester daytime
The Factory Manchester at night
The Factory Manchester - Farrat Bearing Design
The Factory Manchester - Construction Progress

Farrat’s Building Acoustics Team are also working closely with Structural Engineering Specialists from Clancy Consulting to address some of the schemes most complex engineering challenges.  

“Working with Clancy Consulting on The Factory has taken the acoustic isolation system design to the level of engineering and accuracy required to successfully deliver a project of this magnitude,” comments Adriana Leotta, Project Delivery Manager of The Factory at Farrat.   

“Clancy have been extremely supportive during our long relationship. They have a strong sense of responsibility in providing the right solution and advice for the team they are working with.” 

Bringing together the unique strengths of both Clancy and Farrat has strengthened the long-term relationship and inspired collaborations on other projects. 

Our relationship with Clancy Consulting has developed from being a contractor to a trusted partner, engaged on a retained basis”, explains Ryan Arbabi. 

Together, we now regularly tackle hybrid acoustic isolation and structural engineering applications that are both novel and innovative. We know we can rely on Clancy’s breadth of structural engineering capabilities and mix them with our niche acoustics expertise to offer a service to our clients significantly greater than the sum of its parts. 

Clancy Consulting CEO, Martyn Headley, also affirms the collaborative relationship:  

The Farrat and Clancy teams work closely together to arrive at innovative solutions on each and every project, and over time we have seen an incredibly strong relationship develop which has yielded fantastic projects we are both incredibly proud of. The Factory is just one example of this. 

Acoustic Isolation Bearings for The Factory Project
Acoustic Isolation Bearings for The Factory Project close up

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, has also endorsed the complex engineering behind the scheme and notes the important role the arts venue will play in local economy 

“The Factory is a state-of-the-art, high-quality, multi-functional building, incomparable in nature to any other currently being constructed in the UK.  It’s fantastic to see the progress that has been made on site with the basic structure very much now visible. 

Our creative sector is already thriving, and Manchester is now recognised as the second largest creative city in Europe after London, with a GVA to the city’s economy of £1.4bn – all of which proves the soundness of our ongoing investment in culture and the arts, and our continuing belief in the power of culture and creativity, and The Factory, to transform lives.    

 

To work in partnership with these firms on such a ground-breaking scheme, so close to Farrat’s engineering and manufacturing facilitiesis a tremendous achievement. Our team look forward to enjoying the rewards of theiengineering feats in person, once The Factory project completes (set to open later this year).  

#OnAMission 

Meeting the challenges of the growth and evolution of cinema

Following the META Cinema Forum in Dubai last month, whilst there are some concerns within the industry, the growth of cinema is predicted to continue following the recovery from COVID19.

The appetite for moviegoing remains strong, thanks to the backlog of much anticipated films such as the next instalments from DC Comics, Disney, Star Wars and Bond franchises. With this demand for Blockbusters comes the need for a superior quality viewing experience, which will continue to be vital to the success of cinema both now and in the future.

Below we outline some of the key challenges facing cinema builders throughout this period of growth and evolution in the big screen.

Box office recovery

Sound evolution

The evolution of sound from single speakers to surround sound has increased the number of speakers typically setup within an auditorium to provide the most immersive audio experience. This growing audio infrastructure presents a challenge for cinema builders as the speakers create a powerful 3D sound field.

Farrat’s most recent installation in Saudi Arabia at the U-Walk Boulevard featured this immersive sound experience by Dolby Atmos, and it was only with CineSTEEL and CineWALL systems that Farrat were able to engineer the levels of sound insulation required to ensure that noise from adjacent auditoria did not provide a disturbance.

Growing number of cinema screens under one roof

Originally cinemas were built in isolation to house one auditorium: 30 years ago, just 1 in 10 cinemas were constructed with multiple screens.

Multiplex’s quickly became the norm however, following increased investment into film production and cinema across the globe. Now as we enter the era of ‘Megaplexes,’ screen numbers are in the double figures with auditoriums being constructed alongside each other as ‘box in box’ systems within shopping malls and mixed-use environments.

Constructing multiple screens in such proximity presents the challenge of elevated levels of sound emitting between auditoriums, causing noise to compromise the immersive moviegoer experience.

Farrat has reacted to the acceleration in construction rate by optimizing it’s Cine range of cinema sound insulation products to increase availability, ease of distribution, and speed of installation to remain as the preferred choice for multiplex construction.

Multiple forms of entertainment in one complex

In addition to multiple screens, different forms of entertainment facilities such as bowling alleys, shops and restaurants are now bought together in the same complex.

Whilst it is critical that noise from adjacent cinema screens does not interfere with each other, it is equally important that noise generated from other retail and leisure sources – in particular, noise from F&B concessions – does not penetrate the auditorium walls, ceiling, or floors.

A current example of this is ‘The Glassworks’, a mixed-use development currently underway in Barnsley, which is set to contain 25 shops, 7 restaurants, a 13-screen cinema and a bowling alley. Farrat provided the acoustic isolation materials for both the cinema and the bowling alley in this project to ensure they were acoustically protected from one another.

In summary

The immediate future of cinema looks hopeful as there remains a big place for the big screen in people’s hearts. Whatever the return to normality looks like post COVID19, there is likely to be an even greater appreciation of the ability to go out to watch a film. With that anticipation comes a certain amount of pressure for cinema builders to provide viewers of the future with the best possible visual and acoustic experience, by overcoming the latest challenges through cinema construction innovation.

If you would like more information on how Farrat are innovating in the field of cinema acoustic isolation and how our bespoke approach could ensure the best quality audio visual experience for viewers, then get in touch.

acoustic isolation

Farrat to sponsor hybrid META Cinema Forum 2020

The 2020 META Cinema Forum will be conducted as a hybrid event – both online and in person – and Farrat are looking forward to being part of the largest cinema conference covering the Middle East and African Markets.

Adapting to the changing circumstances of 2020, the third META Cinema Forum will include a knowledge packed programme covering all the key critical topics of the cinema sector, including projects, plans, technology and film content. There will then be a post event networking reception for those there in person. Farrat will sponsor this opportunity to meet the leading influencers in the cinema industry in this region.

Farrat acoustic isolation in the middle east

Farrat have been working consistently within the Middle East where the market for acoustic isolation has increased as the number of cinema’s in the region grows. In Saudi Arabia, Farrat delivered the acoustic isolation for 15 multiplexes in the first 12 months after the lifting of the ban on the building of cinemas 2018 alone, and most recently helped to deploy the first Dolby Cinema screen in the country.

The programme – COVID-19 and the cinema industry

The programme has been amended to consider the latest developments affecting the cinema industry. There will be a panel discussion looking into how the COVID-19 is affecting cinema across the globe, and what the future might look like for cinema.

In addition, the conference will look at the latest cinema technology being used, new design considerations and how to get the public safely back in front of the big screen.

For the full conference agenda, and to register, visit the META Cinema Forum website.

Farrat isolates first Dolby Atmos auditorium in Saudi Arabia

Muvi Cinemas – Saudi Arabia’s first home-grown cinema brand – have deployed the first Dolby Cinema screen in Saudi Arabia at the U-Walk Boulevard, Arabian Centres in Riyadh. Dolby Cinema sets out to offer a superior movie experience, made up of the ultra-vivid picture of Dolby Vision and the immersive sound of Dolby Atmos.

Farrat have been excited to be involved in such a ground-breaking project to the region. It was only in 2018 that Saudi Arabia opened its first cinema for 35 years and to see such technological advances in so relatively short a period of time is tremendous.

Farrat were brought on board as leading global experts in cinema acoustic isolation, having overseen the acoustic isolation of over 300 cinemas worldwide to date, including delivering more than 15 multiplexes in Saudi Arabia in the first 12 months following the lifting of the ban. Our experience operating in the Middle East as well as the full spectrum of products in the ‘Cine’ range means that we were able to provide a truly bespoke approach to this new technology in the region as well as meet the logistical challenges in supplying into Saudi Arabia.

Dolby Atmos represents a new challenge in the field of cinema acoustic isolation as there are far more speakers required to create the 3D sound field that is this next-generation advancement in cinema surround sound. Farrat’s Technical Director Ryan Arbabi described his excitement for these new acoustic technologies in a recent interview, “Immersive sound systems like Dolby Atmos are as profound to cinema acoustics as the shift to digital projection was to vision a few years ago. Where traditional surround-sound systems allow you to sense the sound happening around you, Dolby Atmos feels like the sound is inside your head – you are really ‘there’.

To Farrat this is represents a new challenge, but one that our huge experience in worldwide cinema acoustics and our advanced Cine range are more than capable of meeting. The products used included in this solution consisted of CineFLOOR PRO, CineWALL PRO and CineSTEEL LITE, so we thoroughly covered all aspects of the acoustic isolation”.

The Reopening of Flagship Hammersmith Arts Centre Riverside Studios for 2020

The massive renovation project at the Riverside Studios came to a close with the opening of the most modern TV studio in the whole of the UK. It also has two theatre spaces with 200 and 500 seat capacity, 2 cinemas and social facilities such as a café, coffee shop and bar.

Farrat were pleased to be a big part of this innovative building whose key aim was to have sound isolation so great that productions could run simultaneously without disrupting each other. The studios in particular were designed with a complete “box-in-box” design enabling maximum use at all times.

Farrat were involved with the sound insulation of the cinemas and studios one, two and three. A mix of bearings were used to ensure sound was isolated to the extent that it would not be heard or felt anywhere else in the building, including Farrat Acoustic Laminated Bearings and Farrat Hybrid Bearings. Other materials used to achieve this effect include Farrat ISOMAT and Farrat AWSTC Acoustic Washers.

Riverside

Farrat were involved with the sound insulation of the cinemas and studios one, two and three. A mix of bearings were used to ensure sound was isolated to the extent that it would not be heard or felt anywhere else in the building, including Farrat Acoustic Laminated Bearings and Farrat Hybrid Bearings. Other materials used to achieve this effect include Farrat ISOMAT and Farrat AWSTC Acoustic Washers.

Artistic director of the space, William Burdett-Coutts, said: ‘To see Riverside Studios reopen its doors to the public is the culmination of a dream. Whilst the old building held an extremely fond place in the hearts of people across the arts, television and film worlds it had all the benefits and problems of a “found space”. Essentially it began life as a Victorian factory and through a number of different incarnations played a part in all these different worlds.

landscape materials photo

‘Today the new building combines all these interests into a fantastic new public facility which can realise the potential for this incredible site in London. The artists that have passed through the building are legendary and we look forward to welcoming many more in future and making this a place the public feel they can enjoy and cherish.’

Riverside landscape

2019 at Farrat – a year of success

2019 has been a busy year for Farrat and full of achievements and projects to be proud of.  There are too many to go into in one post, but here are a few of the highlights of 2019.

Longevity is an ultimate aim for most businesses, and for Farrat to celebrate it’s 60th year this year was a fantastic achievement. A family business now into it’s third generation, Farrat continues to grow with a well-established team, many of whom plan to be here to celebrate 70 years no doubt.

Farrat celebrating 60 years of engineering and manufacturing in the UK

The growth of our non-structural vibration isolation department – new expanding markets has meant the size of this department has nearly doubled in size, with the launch of several new products in our Cine range. The number of projects in the middle east has grown with a number of high-profile openings this year including the largest mall in Egypt, which we were a significant part of.

Growth of cinema in the MENA region is huge with 500 new cinema screens planned between 2018 and 2023, and following attendance of the second MENA cinema forum, Farrat are looking to continue to be a big part of that.

The MENA cinema forum this year introduced a new way to display the power of Farrat’s Cine Range. Affectionately dubbed ‘the cube of silence,’ this demonstration enabled our Commercial Director Ryan Arbabi to show just how much noise and vibration we can isolate!

Farrat has continued a truly global reach in 2019, with more countries than we could go into in much detail. From canning factories in France, Brazil and the UK, shock isolation in Taiwan, vibration control at The Hague in the Netherlands and in Slovakia, in addition to the work in MENA with the growth of cinema in Saudi Arabia on the horizon – it’s been a globe trotting year!

Farrat TBF was a brand-new product launched this year, following numerous requests for a fire safe thermal break product. Fire safe thermal break material is not yet a legal requirement but to be able to launch a product as ahead of the curve, and one we truly believe will be in high demand in the future, was an exciting achievement.

Farrat TBF

The team has expanded this year to accommodate growth, but in addition to that, Farrat truly believes in developing team members internally. A large number of people within Farrat have progressed to new positions in house.

2020 sees a new level of growth with more exciting plans that we look forward to updating you on from as close as Manchester to the other side of the world.

Farrat visit CineEurope in Barcelona

Farrat visit CineEurope

Produced by The Film Expo Group, CineEurope is the official convention of the International Union of Cinemas (UNIC), an international trade association representing cinema exhibitors and their national associations across 37 European territories whose focus is to better promote the social, cultural and economic value of cinemas in Europe and internationally.

Farrat CEO Oliver Farrell will meet with several of Europe’s leading commercial cinema integrators at the conference this week, to discuss our latest innovations in cinema construction and how Farrat can support local contractors to build high-impact, immersive sound experiences for cinema audiences in emerging regions.

Over the last 12 months the Building Acoustics Team at Farrat have worked to re-calibrate our range of high-performance sound insulation solutions to better suit the demanding acoustic requirements of today’s modern cinema auditoria.

A key driver for this has been Farrat’s desire to respond to (and keep pace with) the latest innovations in cinema technology around the world, including the introduction of 4DX/D-Box motion seating systems, IMAX screens and Dolby Atmos/DTS surround sound systems.

Farrat CEO Oliver Farrell at the CineEurope conference in Barcelona
CineEurope Conference - 28 Years of Promoting European Cinema

The recent introduction of our new Farrat Cine Range is a demonstration of our focused commitment to the global cinema construction market and once rolled out in full, it will be the markets first complete range of high-performance sound insulation systems designed specifically for cinemas:

  • CineFLOOR Acoustic Floating Floors
  • CineSTEEL Steel Frame Raked Seating Isolation
  • CineTIMBERTimber Frame Raked Seating Isolation
  • CineWALLAuditorium Partition Base Track Isolation (JULY 19)
  • CineTIEAuditorium Acoustic Ceiling Hangers (COMING SOON)

Each system in the range offers four grades of acoustic isolation, ranging from minimum to maximum performance: NEO, LITE, PRO & MAX.

At the top end of the spectrum, our MAX grades are future-proofed to withstand even the most intrusive vibrations and frequencies, such as those generated from 4DX motion seating and Dolby Atmos/DTS surround sound, typically found in larger multiplex cinemas.

At the lower end, LITE and NEO grades take into consideration the requirements of smaller, more lightweight auditoriums often found in independent cinemas and refurbs.

The ultimate intention being to cater to auditoriums of all shapes and sizes, offering full flexibility to cinema operators, designers and contractors.


Oliver will be at the CineEurope Conference from 17-19th June 2019, located at Barcelona International Convention Centre – CCIB. For more information on the event program visit: www.filmexpos.com/cineeurope 

Farrat acoustically isolate the Sky Room Auditorium at Milton Keynes new “architectural gem”

The long-awaited extension of ‘MK Gallery’ in Milton Keynes, opened its doors to the public at the weekend after being hailed as “an architectural gem” by national media.

Designed by two artists in collaboration with London architects 6a, the £12m extension includes five new exhibition galleries and a Sky Room auditorium, acoustically isolated using the Farrat CineFLOOR PRO acoustic floating floor system, which was installed by AcouStruct Ltd.

The Sky Room auditorium is housed in a new building for MK Gallery, which is located at the top end of Midsummer Boulevard where the city meets Campbell Park, establishing the centre of a new arts quarter.

The auditorium will be used for film, performance, lectures and large screenings with a sizable audience capacity, accommodated by sliding bleachers.


Farrat has designed and delivered acoustic isolation solutions for many of the world’s largest and most striking multiplex cinema projects and the Building Acoustics team at Farrat has decades of experience creating state-of-the-art acoustic environments within cinemas.

For further information: