Redefining Luxury

by Sam Cavitt | | January 8, 2022

Is luxury a term that suggests things worthy of our desire?  For those accustomed to the finer things, this has become a valid question.  Traditionally, the luxury designation indicated a product, service, or experience that was, due to the quality of materials, workmanship and intellect, clearly superior. If that definition is accurate, why not seek luxury? Like so many things however, the definition of luxury has changed.

The original definition is an admirable label and would accurately describe the values of those producing excellence in the category of private cinema.  Electronics comprised of imaging systems that produce film-like, if not life-like images, audio systems capable of faithfully reproducing the audio artistry of movie and music studios alike; Theater construction, interiors and furnishings featuring state of the art acoustical building materials, exquisite interior finishes and bespoke designs by specialized masters in every discipline: Engineering, design and concierge quality care and fine-tuning to bring about a transcendent experience at every turn.  Inimitable experiences we can share with those we care for, indulging ourselves and others with the arts of movies and music, in a manner that is truly exquisite. Is that not what we seek? Luxury… 

Today’s definition of luxury is quite different.  Due to an excess of technological and societal disruption, the term has experienced a reversal.  What was exclusive is now ordinary and what once meant only the finest is now merely a name.  Examples of this abound where revered luxury brands eschew bespoke creations for entry-level productions, calling it aspirational luxury. It isn’t hard to tell when this is happening in the broader “luxury” marketplace. Luxury sweatpants indeed! In the home theater world, because of the sophisticated technology inherent as well as the many disciplines involved, separating the common from the extraordinary requires more careful consideration. If we are to recognize offerings that embody the desirable attributes previously defining luxury, we would be well served if we used the aforementioned and superior definition of luxury as a guide. This is true because private cinema, its values, what it offers and embodies represent the core values of luxury as originally defined.  Let’s look at what considerations one should take to assure a private cinema experience nonpareil!

Consider the concept. Is the design clearly superior to alternatives?  Did your consultant make the effort to confirm its suitability to your objectives now and as they grow?  Or was a standard, packaged solution offered?  What were the primary criteria? If price, you have likely been underserved.  Our experience has been that clientele who embark on the private cinema journey grow in their appreciation of the arts and the value their cinemas will have on their lives.  A theater designer or consultant who has made the effort to explore possibilities with you and discover where these pair with your current and future objectives is exhibiting the luxury value of superior intellectual quality. Such a consultant will understand where compromised solutions fail to address many design and performance concerns and will instead direct you toward a meticulous and multidisciplined functional concept that will support those transcendent experiences.

Consider the components of a private cinema.  More than just the “black boxes” all private cinema components demand a superior quality of materials, workmanship and intellect.  Acoustic construction and devices, interior finishes, furnishings and every electronic system demand engineering, design, documentation, professional installation and final commissioning to come together in a private cinema deserving of the traditional luxury label. Offerings of home theater configurators and kits promising results equal to bespoke private cinemas often hide behind a luxury label but are in fact lesser alternatives.  Upon close inspection, you will see that quality details and performance are compromised. Excellence, that former herald of luxury has been exchanged for convenience and expediency.     

Compare.  What other pursuits bring enrichment to your life? If you collect art, is it merely to fill a space, or is it to experience the joy of owning a work that expresses you emotionally and intellectually?  Does your wine cellar merely store beverages or has it become a gathering place and social catalyst that inspires cherished conviviality?  Do personal jewelry collections bring joy to yourself or loved ones you have gifted?  Compared to many other pursuits private cinemas that embody the truest values of luxury can offer much more.  At the fundamental level, the enhancement of movie, music and other media enjoyment is incomparable.  Luxury private cinemas allow these media arts to be experienced as intended, often for the first time.  Sadly, most home and even commercial theaters fall short.  Most importantly, a true luxury private cinema will provide a depth of experience many other amenities cannot.  Beautiful shared experiences. Time spent, uplifted by beloved arts in the company of beloved people.

Luxury exists because it is elevating.  We admire the finer things and are uplifted by experiencing them and sharing them.  The qualities that define something as one of the finer things, a luxury, are of three dimensions.  Function, experience and symbolism.  How well something performs, how elevating or transcendent it is, and what that item or experience means to us personally. If we compromise these, we compromise much.  If luxury, meant to represent the highest standard is lessened, all standards will be diminished. It is good to remember that every moment happens only once.  To elevate or to diminish is for us to choose.

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