When the curtain went up on Houston Ballet's Manon last Thursday, the curtain also went up on an updated Founders Salon. The chichi lair of ballet (and Houston Grand Opera) patrons went under the knife, so to speak, this summer, experiencing a facelift that indeed gives the space a fresh, more youthful look.
Houston Ballet board president Phoebe Tudor had envisioned a new mien for the space where dinner and cocktails are served before performances and during intermissions. She felt the time had come for the Founders Salon to embrace more glam restaurant esthetic than mere feeding trough.
You might recall that last spring she tapped her BFF and event planner extraordinaire Todd Fiscus of Dallas and Houston to create a pop-up cafe that would put the wheels in motion for a more permanent freshening. That move was successful with Houston First (which owns Wortham Theater Center), Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ballet partnering in a redo.
Interior designer Lucinda Loya spearheaded the design effort with Fiscus as consultant and the result is a striking more sophisticated space for hobnobbing patricians who generously support the performing arts. "The result," Tudor emailed, "is a much-needed update accomplished with a modest budget."
Patrons will notice the addition of overhead lighting along the sides of colonnade as well as the addition of contemporary chandeliers. Ghost chairs flank dining tables covered in faux leather accented with brass studs. Individual flower vases and table lanterns are among decorative touches that include a wall of candles behind the bar. Banquettes have been reupholstered in iridescent fabric providing a lighter touch to the venue.
"Through this effort," Tudor emailed ballet patrons, "the new Founders Salon looks fresh and inviting."
Among those applauding the effort on Manon's opening night were Houston Ballet general manager Jim Nelson, Jay Jones, Anne and Charles Duncan, Richard Lydecker and Donna Kaplan, Shawn Stephens and Jim Jordan.