In revitalizing the iconic Brooklyn Paramount theater, Live Nation engaged Arcadis to refurbish this nearly century-old movie theater and music venue. The objective was to draw a more diverse range of shows to Brooklyn, preserving its historical significance while adapting to modern needs. The theater has been renowned for hosting the world's first talking movies and showcasing legendary musical performers like Buddy Holly & The Crickets, Chuck Berry, Duke Ellington, and Ella Fitzgerald since 1928. Now redesigned, it accommodates contemporary artists while paying homage to its storied past.

Long Island University acquired the venue in the 1960s, repurposing it as the school's basketball court. Tasked with restoring the space to its original function, the design team faced the challenge of reconfiguring balcony areas, reinstating original materials, and integrating essential enhancements to accommodate both performers and audience members. Upon entering the reconstructed front entrance, guests are greeted by the grand foyer. Embracing the venue's original architecture, the team methodically removed layers of paint and materials to reveal the space's authentic features. Original stone elements are showcased on both floors and walls, complemented by a sleek glass and stone bar where fans can enjoy beverages before heading into the music hall.

“Polishing the historic character of the venue and bringing its storied past to life was exceptionally gratifying,” says Associate Principal at Arcadis Keith Wlosek. “Seeing each detail meticulously restored filled us with pride, knowing we were safeguarding the legacy of this cherished landmark.”

Arcadis undertook a comprehensive marquee redesign, drawing inspiration from the original structure. An awe-inspiring moment awaits guests as they look upward at the intricately designed ceiling. Constructed with plaster, special attention was given to ensure its structural stability, capable of withstanding the intense bass vibrations of concerts. Using an 80-foot scaffold, architects reviewed the repairs, tested the plaster, and touched up areas needing restoration. Collaborating with a lighting designer, the team expertly illuminated the upper plaster dome, transforming it into a beautiful canvas enveloping the space in colored light to further enhance the concert experience.

By examining the venue's original design and historical drawings from the 1920s, the Arcadis team salvaged intricate details and restored original architecture altered over the past century. In its original form, the ticket lobby has been reimagined to align with modern aesthetics and security standards. As guests step into the pre-event area and ultimately, the music hall, they are bound to be captivated by the historical reinterpretation of this iconic venue.

Upon entering the 2,700-capacity music hall, patrons are greeted by the featured bar before they encounter a sloped floor designed for optimal viewing. In a concerted effort to return the space to its original purpose, Arcadis' team converted the old classrooms on the upper balcony of the venue into mechanical areas to provide the space with ample modern comfort. Furthermore, they methodically replicated the balcony's original rococo columns with a colonnade, signaling the top of the venue.

The second-level balcony boasts exclusive boxes and “Ella's VIP lounge,” paying homage to Fitzgerald's iconic performances in the 1950s. The intimate atmosphere of the VIP lounge showcases a small stage wrapped in a warm burnt-red drape. Over four dozen glistening gold disco balls add an additional level of sparkle to the space to set it apart from the rest of the venue. This glamorous and secluded space also features a dedicated VIP bar exclusively for its patrons adorned with a custom mural which pays homage to one of Fitzgerald’s iconic songs.

“Restoring the venue was more than just a project—it was a journey to breathe life back into every corner of this historic theater,” notes Principal at Arcadis Sterling Plenert.

Brooklyn Paramount marks Arcadis' fourth project with Live Nation, having enlisted the design team following their successful collaboration on the award-winning Brooklyn Bowl projects.