When Bruce Wayne fell down a well and found himself in a pitch black cave, all he felt was an overwhelming, suffocating fear that clawed at his sanity and drove him to a frenzied escape as the bats thrashed around him. And we’ve all grown up watching movies that demonise the dingy basement, making us mortally afraid of what may be lurking down there in the darkness.
So when it comes to commissioning an expert team of installers to put a home theatre in your basement, turning it into a dark cave may seem like an odd choice. But that’s precisely what this home owner from the Brighton suburb of Melbourne did, asking Mark Barrett and Evan Christides from Frankston Hi-Fi to give him an exact replica of a ‘Batcave’ home theatre he’d seen one day in one of those ‘ultimate setup’ emails circulating on the internet.
“So the owner’s not necessarily a huge Batman fan?” we asked Chris Selby, owner at Frankston Hi-Fi. “No no,” Chris replies, “he just loved what he saw of this Batcave-themed home theatre in Canada and wanted the same thing”.
But whatever the motive, the result is stunning – take a look at the photos on these pages and, while no pictures can really do it justice, it’s clear that this was a very big challenge, and one what was magnificently met by the Frankston Hi-Fi crew. While the rock effect may look a little Disneyland, ‘in the flesh’, so to speak, the atmosphere is incredibly authentic and cave-like, dark and brooding but cosy and inviting at the same time.
“Fitting everything in the room space we were given,” was the biggest challenge relates Mark Barrett, the man largely responsible for the outfitting. “But in the build we also achieved the correct dimensions for maximal acoustic performance. (‘The processor alone, a Lexicon MC12HD EQ B, is worth 28-grand,’ chips in Chris). This is a real home cinema, not a living room setup, as well as looking amazing.”
And amazed is exactly how their client’s architect must feel now that the work is done. When first presented with the plans of the model Canadian ‘Batcave’, the architect’s response was clear. No-one in Australia, he observed, is capable of completing the job. But the Frankston Hi-Fi team lives for a challenge and this never felt like a project that would get the better of them.
“I took about eight weeks just planning the theatre out,” notes Mark, “to make sure there’d be no surprises and everything would fit”.
And they may now be hidden forever; submerged under layers of polystyrene, expandable foam and hard lacquer, but the technical drawings Mark scrawled on the walls as he planned it all out are evidence of his thoughtful and thorough approach.