Our Historic Location
The Art Deco-era Metropolitan Theater, later renamed the Bijou,
was originally part of a mixed-use edifice. The three-story building
accommodated the cinema, the First Bank of Hermosa Beach and
meeting spaces for two Masonic lodges.
Architect Richard Douglas King, who designed numerous commercial
and civic buildings across the Los Angeles region in the 1920s,
designed the Metropolitan. King designed or remodeled several
theaters, including the 1924 Ravenna Theater in central Los Angeles.
One of his best-known works is the Villa Riviera Apartments on
Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach, one of the tallest buildings in
the area, second only to L.A. City Hall when it was finished
For the Metropolitan's grand opening in 1923, the theater premiered Circus
Days, starring Jackie Coogan, along with five Orpheum
acts, a novelty act and a cooking comedy. The extravaganza
lasted until 2:00 a.m.
Following the grand opening, the Hermosa Beach Review described
the Metropolitan as having a beautiful entrance underneath a
marquee of rare artistic design, a tiled lobby and "jazzed
plaster decorated in various colors." The interior architecture
was prominently arched, featuring alcoves throughout. Patrons
of the theater, surrounded by expensive hangings and costly paintings,
would sit on mammoth divans and leather opera chairs and listen
to the $20,000 Roberts Morgan pipe organ.
Led by Christopher Korner and in partnership with architect
Phillip Trigas, Graft developed an innovative and flexible program
for Gallery C's conversion of the Bijou Theater. Graft, whose
very name promises a hybrid of cultures, eschews working in a
signature style. Instead, partners Wolfram Putz, Lars Kruckeberg,
Thomas Willemeit and Korner prefer collaborative projects and
investigations that source a wide variety of influences, styles