In a typical home theater—at least the way most people understand the term—a TV is surrounded by speakers placed in strategic locations around it. In such a setup, people usually don’t care all that much how the speaker boxes look or how thin the bezel of the TV is—they care about the performance.
High-end home theaters—especially those in dedicated rooms—are a different animal. Performance and design play—or should play—an equally important role. Of course, the balance isn’t always even. Depending on the person, sometimes design is the primary concern and sometimes it’s the performance.
The irony is that it’s not too hard to have your cake and eat it too. It just requires a tighter collaboration between a designer and an AV integrator. But the mutual distrust between the two trades has resulted in an unfortunate erosion of the popularity of dedicated home theaters. This isn’t just a loss for the trades but also for people who may never know what they miss when they watch TV in the family room instead of—when they have money and the space to get the best—inside a dedicated space.
My friend Vin Bruno of AllTecPro told me a couple of years ago something that still rings true: It’s a matter of education—people must witness firsthand what a true home theater is. Once they sit on a reclining seat with their peripheral vision occupied by the images on the large screen and their ears surrounded by good sound, they will know right away how exciting the experience can be. To borrow the line from Field of Dreams and apply it to what all of us home theater professionals do: “If we build it, they will come.”
While George Walter, the president of Rayva, and his team of technical advisors—Steve Haas, John Bishop, Joel Silver, and Peter Aylet—work on technical performance standards and specifications for Rayva theaters, I’ve been focusing on curating designs from sculptors, painters, photographers, and mixed-media artists from around the world for the next generation of Rayva design themes. The experience has been richly rewarding. The perspectives on the world and art of the talented artists I’m working with has expanded my understanding of art. It has also brought a breath of fresh air to home theater design, which, for the most part, is still dominated by the repetition of design clichés.
While we are working to finalize at least six new designs for Rayva, I would like to share with you two design themes by Marina Vernicos, based on her award-winning photographs. Marina introduces us to her exciting world of marine life and leisurely summer activities around drone-photographed swimming pools. You can “smell” vacation in these images, and you can relax by just looking at them. Marina’s photos become the bridge between the concerns of life outside the theater and the excitement that is about to spill out of the screen once the lights go down.
Theo Kalomirakis is widely considered the father of home theater, with scores of luxury theater
designs to his credit. He is an avid movie fan, with a collection of over 15,000 discs. Theo is the
Executive Director of Rayva.