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The DFT auditorium was built in 1927 as part of the original construction of the DIA. As you wait for a film to begin, it's easy to get lost in admiration for the different details of the auditorium. The dark blue and gold color scheme adds to the depth and intimacy of the theater. As you gaze around, you find mysterious faces, human figures, and animals sculpted in the silver and gold detail of the walls, ceiling, and doorways.
The physical beauty extends outside of the auditorium. The inner and outer lobbies are an efficient mixture of brass, glass, and stone that guide you through the theater with a heightened sense of sophistication. From the inner lobby, two symmetrically located stairways lead to the balcony and the Crystal Gallery Café. These stone stairways include risers made from the Pewabic Pottery that is crafted in Detroit.
The small spaces and hard surfaces add muffled, dreamlike echoes to the texture of the theater. Some carved-out stone at the top of each stairwell looks like fossil excavations. Look more closely and you'll see the names of artists who have inspired the settingBeethoven, Bach and Mozart on one side, and Molière, Shakespeare and Schiller on the other.
Comfortable food smells greet you at the top of the stairs to the balcony level. The Crystal Gallery Café includes snack food like cookies and cake; alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages; and full meals like salads, soups, and quiche. The café makes the DFT a self-contained experience for patrons looking for just a dinner and a movie. It also adds a welcome touch of friendliness and relaxation after a serious DFT film.
The café is set in an airy, well-lit space that is ornamented with chandeliers, high vaulted ceilings, and large windows that bring in much natural light. And although you can't take the food into the theater, the relaxed atmosphere of the café more than compensates, with its cushioned chairs, small tables, and subdued air of conversation. At night, the lights from the John R entrance to the DIA add dramatic shadows to the ceiling of the café.
Next Page: Sophisticated Surroundings
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Web site copyright © 2015 by Robert Hollberg Smith, Jr.
Launched November 25, 2005.
Last updated April 1, 2015.
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