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  • Sarah Holdsworth

Do you think you've seen inside the Bradford Alhambra? think again.

Updated: Apr 26, 2019

A designers insight into the Alhambra's interior design.



Bradford Alhambra

My first time visiting the Alhambra in Bradford was to view a theatre performance named Of Mice and Men during high school in a large class of people making it both educational and enjoyable. However, my first interpretation of the building was blocked primarily by a swarm of people, but the perspective of the main entrance was unveiled once on the curved and angular staircase looking out onto the grand lobby.


My second time vising this building was to watch a show with my family to see the cast of Benidorm. Visiting the Alhambra recently meant that I was able to perceive the building from an interior designers’ perspective. Corinthian columns and domes with turrets stood strong and proud within the Georgian building whilst acoustic paneling covered walls to dim down the hustle and bustle of the room.


The architects of the Bradford Alhambra described the theatre as a “English Renaissance of the Georgian period” making it a unique interpretation of the era. My first interpretation was similar however I found elements of the building such as the lobby and staircase more modern than traditional although, this could have been due to an upgrade to the interior over the years. This made me feel conflicted as the building conveyed a range of features, making merging between the old and new feel distracting due to their vast differences.


The most important element of the design were the main stages. Paintings and statues of women gave a grand and expensive impression of the room whilst the chairs were layered and driven far back to give the viewer a real impression of the vastness of the building. When the audience is low, the environment feels empty and large, but a big crowd bring liveliness and anticipation when the mumbling begins to die down and the lights dim.

What I learnt from the space was how to orientate and make an interior streamline enough for large crowds of people. Some aspects such as the staircase had enough room to allow people to go up and down however, the wait before performances meant a cluster of people began to form. To deal with this, the designer placed three different types of refreshment stations on three different floors such as a bar, restaurant and café.


In conclusion, I took away an exciting and rewarding experience from the Alhambra both first and second times. I found the interior modern and grand and aspects such as the acoustic wall and the ceiling effect using fabric an interesting addition.





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