The Art of Theater Design

When we get excited about a dedicated home theater, it's rarely the equipment that has us salivating. It's almost always about the unique interior design. We are enthralled by the designer's decorative statement, whether it is a themed theater that transports us to one of our favorite movies or a more traditional approach that model's contemporary multiplexes.

3D Squared Inc has combined the importance of interior design with acoustic paneling because it's no longer good enough to have a great looking theater, it must sound good, as well.

This Art Deco theater is located in the homeowner's basement. While the overall design, manufacture and installation of the theater was performed by Jack Fitzgerald of Home Theater Lifestyles (, it was the design of the acoustic panels from 3-D Squared that created this theater's artistic flair with a great use of texture, colors and dimension.

The focus of the front wall is an actual black and white photo that was taken in 1931. The image was enlarged by 3D Squared, who was able to enhance the resolution and then print the image on fabric. The final print was mounted to a motorized tube and automated to raise and expose the 116” screen when the movie starts.

The primary acoustic goal of the decorative panels is to control the sound in your theater. Three types of acoustic panels are typically used: absorptive, reflective and diffusive. Absorptive panels eliminate sound waves from bouncing off the untreated wall surfaces. However, you have to be careful not to have too much absorption and some rooms require diffusion to control sound reflections. According to 3D Squared at least 35% of the rear and side walls should be covered with panels. Generally speaking, the more of the wall's surface area that is covered by absorptive and/or diffusive acoustic wall panels the better. However, there should always be some exposed hard surfaces to keep the theater sounding alive.

When consulting with 3-D Squared on your theater they determine the quantity, size, and location of the panels and create a photo-realistic rendering of your room. This way the client can get a clear idea of how the design will integrate into the theater and provides opportunities to make adjustments to the design elements. Some theaters are more challenging than others and may require a greater level of planning, manufacturing and installations.

Installation is straightforward. Essentially you hang the panels as you would any piece of large art. Using the keyholes on the back of the panels, the panels are placed on two screws that are inserted in the wall.

3D Squared offers a variety of themes and original art.
Glen Hoffman, President of 3D Squared