PROJECT: 940 Madison Avenue, New York, NY
Replication of Historic Fixtures
Fabricating historic fixtures from old photographs presents many challenges. Aurora Lampworks was up for the task.
The building at 940 Madison Avenue was initially constructed for The United States Mortgage and Trust Company circa 1921. The challenge was to custom fabricate period chandeliers with modern energy saving technologies for a retail environment. When our portion of the project began in the spring of 2014, the original interior lighting fixtures had long since been stripped away. Fortunately we had old, black and white images of the original interior showing the fixtures at a distance. Unfortunately, the only details we could glean from the photos was the general scale of the fixtures and the number of light bulbs each fixture had. We relied upon our stockpile of vintage parts and old catalogues for inspiration.
The project architects from Bohin Cywinski Jackson worked tirelessly with our Aurora Lampworks team to scale and detail each chandelier. The project included six large chandeliers on the ground floor, four smaller chandeliers in the lower level “family room” floor, and three pendants in the foyer.
Almost every element of these fixtures was custom fabricated to replicate an original 1920’s chandelier. Every decorative element had to be hand sculpted before being cast, machined and applied. Even the glass globes were blown to custom specifications. Energy saving LEDs were used for glow sources within the glass globes, and powerful LED up-lights were integrated into the fixtures to illuminate the ceiling. Upon entry it appears that the glowing globes provide the only light source for the room.
To ensure the project was on time and the fixtures were historically accurate and met with modern energy codes, the Aurora team of project managers and artisans were in constant communication with the client and architects. This process involved creating numerous full-scale working mockups at both the installation site and at our shop.
While the challenges of this project were numerous our dedication and perseverance during the process did not waiver. As the job came to a close and the opening date drew near, the 10 chandeliers the Aurora team created were installed; they contribute to and elevate the classic, clean, open feel our client intended the space to have.
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