Location: Fukuoka, Japan
- Architect: John Simones Architect
- Construction: 1995
- Renovation: 2017
- Seats: 1.144
The Hakata Canal City Theater undergoes renovation in its 22nd year of operation. Canal City Theatre is an entertainment theatre where various performances such as musicals, plays and rakugo (comic storytelling) are held in Canal City Hakata, a large shopping center that opened in the year 1996.
Extensive renovation work carried out 22 years after the theatre opened has also involved the renovation of the auditorium, which had long since fallen into disrepair.
The new chairs, based on natural wood, are designed in a style of furniture that evokes a sense of calm and luxury. The number of seats (1,144) has remained the same as before the renovation.
Three innovations have been introduced to improve visitor satisfaction:
The first is the shape of the seat. We have adopted the latest model of Kotobuki Seating, “Spacia”. This shape, which becomes thinner as it reaches the top, creates more space around the feet, which makes it easier not only to see, but also to get in and out of the seat.
Secondly, the shape of the legs. Normally, when a person is seated, the passageway between them and the seat in front of them narrows, making it more difficult to pass.
Thirdly, the shape of the backrest. In the first-floor seats, where the seat inclination is greater, it is safe to have a place to rest the hands to support the body when going up and down the stairs in the aisle. This time, instead of installing a handrail, we have created a natural “grabber” by deforming a part of the dashboard to a longer length so that it can be easily grasped.
Evolution and heritage of the seats
The staggered seating layout, which was previously only used in the front of the center block, has been adopted for the entire center block.
This not only facilitates the audience’s view of the stage, but also allows the performers to adjust the seats to a position where the light source from the audience’s guiding lights is less visible. The upholstery of the seats is a brighter red, without compromising the existing image. In combination with the carpet, it preserves the image of the theatre that has endured for 20 years and will continue.
The Little Mermaid, a new dimensional musical from the Shiki Theatre Company and Disney, is scheduled to begin performances in the summer of 2017, and hopes are high that the newly renovated theatre will be even more spectacular and lively.