An initiative of the EU MEDIA Programme with the support of the Italian Government Since 1992 MEDIA Salles has been promoting the European cinema and its circulation at theatrical level


The new, 10-screen Skyline multiplex opens in Sesto San Giovanni - Italy

As from 12 March Italy will have one more multiplex: it is called Skyline and is located in Sesto San Giovanni in the suburbs of Milan. The new cinema, designed by the Architect Marzorati, is situated on the rooftops of the "Sarca" Ipercoop Centre of Via Milanese, at a strategic point between Milan, Cinisello Balsamo and Bresso, near the new Bicocca university campus. The structure was conceived in 2000 by the company Cinematografica Sestese - which has been operating in Sesto San Giovanni since 1949 - and its construction was made possible by joint support from UCI Italia.

The multiplex houses ten theatres, of which three (with a seating capacity of between 120 and 184) are devoted to art-house screenings and seven to commercial films. The intention is thus to satisfy different sectors of the public, including the regular visitors to the town's three cinemas, the Dante, Elena and Corallo, which have been closed, after serving for years as an important reference point for the area's inhabitants. In all, the multiplex can seat as many as 2,454 spectators. The complex can be reached by a bus shuttle service from Milan and offers an enormous parking area: the shopping centre below provides parking facilities for 2,500 cars, also available to the Skyline. Theatre 4, the largest, seats 480 with a screen measuring 22 m. x 9 m.. The management of admissions and seating is automatic. All the sound equipment is certified THX or DBX with Dolby and DTS processors. Programme changes take place every week on a Friday. "Soon we should like to put digital technology into our cinema", says Stefano Salvischiani, General Manager of Skyline, "and offer customers information services on our programming using sms, email and online services, allowing them to book tickets directly over the Internet, for instance".

Each theatre is named after a galaxy or star (Andromeda, Cassiopes, Anatres, Polaris, Vega, Pegasus, Alfa, Orion, Aldebaran, Sirius), in harmony with the project's basic concept and the name of the multiplex. The whole structure has been conceived and built according to the same criterion. On stepping inside the entrance hall, there is the sensation of a starry sky above: the ceiling is illuminated by hundreds of tiny lights against a dark blue background, there is the suggestion of regular cloud shapes and blue lights glow out of the floor; the bar, box office and other customer services feature large, brightly lit counters, designed to suggest comets in the firmament. The carpeting in the corridors leading to the theatres is patterned with the signs of the zodiac. The seats are red in theatre 1 only, whilst in all the other theatres they are light blue with dark blue arm rests.

Innovative customer services are foreseen: for example a "fast pizza" service will shortly be available not far from the bar; already open to the public is a sales point belonging to Feltrinelli Village, the bookshop whose 600 square metres surface area devoted to books, records and DVDs has already been open for seven months inside the "Sarca" Centre. A "Baby Club" will also be available soon: a baby-sitting service for parents who wish to see a film without the worry of where to leave their children. In addition, the design of the theatres allows them to be used for conferences, meetings, promotional or entertainment events, so that the building can be made use of also at times not reserved for the screenings of films.

Erica Guerini