Source: Grosse Pointe News Online

DIA installs 'community living room'

by Brad Lindberg Staff Writer

June 20, 2013

DETROIT INSTITUTE OF ARTS — Hometown favorites and fashionable fabs are on the beverage menu of a laid back bistro at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

While not as extensive as the museum’s 60,000 works of art, refreshment options include Vernors ginger ale and a Motor City-brewed pilsner billed as Detroit’s finest.

Dining choices fall within the categories of snacks, salads, sandwiches and sweets.

Examples include, but are not limited to, zesty popcorn, toasted farro and wild rice, open-faced goat cheese sandwich and Boston rum cooler.

A menu tailored for Friday night merry-makers is expanded with cocktails and a mix-it-yourself “tasty triptych” of three entrees, such as DIA deviled eggs with Wasabi Tobiko caviar, toasted farro salad and wild salmon skewer.

Prices range from $2 for a Starbucks espresso to the $15 triptychs.

The new eating space, intended as a cultural living room, opened last week in Kresge Court, the heart of the museum’s original 1927 layout.

“I want it to be a cross between a Starbucks and an airport lounge,” said Graham Beal, DIA director.

Kresge Court evokes a Medieval courtyard. Each of its four walls represents a different style of European architectural history: 15th century Italian, 16th century German, 17th century Flemish and 14th century gothic.

“It’s an elegant, rich, but restrained space with the history of architecture all around you,” Beal said.

Distinct seating areas establish the court’s renovated floorplan. No walls or partitions were added.

This room-within-a-room approach presents intimate, rather than overlapping, spaces for groups of patrons to congregate at the same time others obtain solitude.

“Different areas have slightly different activity,” Beal said.

An array of furniture includes wooden library tables with iPads.

There are dining tables, single and two-person seating areas, couch quadrants and coffee tables with DIA publications and guides to the collection.

Power outlets facilitate the use of personal electronic devices.

“We wanted to make Kresge Court the grandest living room in town,” said Patrick Thompson, of Patrick Thompson Design, which collaborated with other partners to conceive and install the new design.

ArtPlace America funded the project with a $268,500 grant.

“They provided the money for us to do this fabulous makeover,” Beal said.