Paramount Theatre, Oakland, California
GRAND LOBBY ENTRANCE (south-east corner)
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Photographer: David Wakely

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"The marble-faced lower zone of the grand lobby north and south walls continues the black-and-silver motif of the slightly concave east (entrance) wall. Above a 'baseboard' of channeled chromium, slender horizontal and vertical strips of the same metal frame four shallow rectangular niches set above grilled vents. Intermediate horizontal strips further subdivide the relatively broad expanses of marble between the niches, and all horizontals are aligned with those of the east wall. A metal frieze, wider than the strips and embossed with two interlocking rows forming a rectilinear wave pattern, runs just below the narrow marble course that caps the zone.

The lower zones of the north and south walls form podia supporting lofty piers between which are seven false windows set within approximately four-foot-deep reveals. The piers are over 35' high, end, except for the broad concave channels and rounded nosings of their forward edges, are nearly rectangular in plan. They are surfaced in vermilion-painted plaster. The plaster soffits of the seven bays are incised with an abstract geometrical floral motif and are gilded. The 'windows' are also over 35' high. Thin metal muntins, arranged in a geometrical pattern to suggest very slender stalks ending in highly abstract flowers, divide the etched amber glass of the 'windows' into trapezoidal shapes. The glass is illuminated by reflected light projected from within the piers into shallow light chambers, producing an evenly diffused softly glowing effect.

click for larger image Each of the marble window ledges supports a nearly life-sized and very conventionalized group of gilded plaster dancers. The groups in the first, third, fifth, and seventh bays each represent a line of four identically posed female dancers. They are cast from two similar but mirror-image molds and are so placed that the lines of their bodies all lead the eye toward the middle (fourth) bay. The second, fourth, and sixth bays contain identical groups representing three female nudes amid a very stylized swirl of foliage or drapery. All of these groups have the effect of railings, or window guards, in their respective bays."

- Historic American Buildings Survey Document No. CA-1976

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