Cavern of Many-Colored Jewels

As one person who saw the above photo has said, “it looks like a huge outer space jewel has crashed through the ceiling”. It’s not just the overall view that reminds of gemstones. A closer look shows a level of ornamentation that must have really dazzled the theater’s visitors when it first opened its doors.

The Michigan Theater in Detroit was built by the architecture firm Rapp & Rapp, which employed a French Baroque style to assist in transporting wonder to the audience. George Rapp didn’t consider the lavish design elements of his theaters to be overly pompous, but rather the necessary “part of a celestial city — a cavern of many-colored jewels, where iridescent lights and luxurious fittings heighten the expectations of pleasure.” Famous as the historic theater that was eventually gutted and turned into a parking garage, its ceiling continues to retain some of this former opulence.