Now back to the renovation at hand and tackle the lighting issue in the West gallery. It is a vaulted ceiling that’s nearly 16′ high, so getting retail lighting in this space without having a jumble of track lights plastered to the ceiling was a problem.
I have always been a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright and find a lot of inspiration in many of his iconic buildings. Although I’ll never have the big budget to create something that would do his architectural skills justice, I did use two of his designs to incorporate into the iron ceiling design.
First is the Avery Coonley playhouse built in 1912 in Chicago. It was a building constructed for Mrs. Coonley to teach kindergarten. The windows were designed to look like confetti and balloons. The original windows were sold at auction many years ago – but in 1988 the owners had the windows recreated.
I also incorporated a frieze detail from the Midway Gardens that opened in Chicago June 27, 1914 and was sadly demolished on October 10, 1929. I loved the angled geometric designs used thought-out the structure. And those Garden Sprites – love them Sprites.
Here is my original concept to the iron fabricators. I wanted the circular elements to have some of the same design passages that the Coonley House offered, and I used the angle design elements from the Midway Gardens. My original design has small stained glass roundels added.
Looking up – this is the design that spans the length of the room. The scale is a little deceiving, as this element is 24′ long. The center long thin rectangle was to cover the ceiling joints to hide the irregular seam. I added two recessed lights for the red elements that are lit with LEDs. The original ceiling light location was converted to a fan.
I know the iron fabricators thought I was crazy – but a job is a job. I have no fancy drafting tools, so all was done in an old version of MS Publisher, a tape measure and ambition. I suppose we’re off on an interesting journey.
We’ll see how it works out – stay tuned.