Historic Repair and Reproduction: the process

The process of Historic Restoration, Repair and Reproduction requires a vast variety of skills. Understanding Historic Design, Engineering, Metal and Glass Fabrication, 3D modeling, Casting, Lighting efficiency, Metallic finish skills, Stained and etched glass knowledge are all necessary.

Each new job is like a puzzle. Investigation, research, and innovation is required to reach a solution that will hold up to the sharp eyes of historians and please the stakeholders while conforming to current codes. We recently worked on a project for the Grand Vision Theater in San Pedro, CA. I will use it as an example to illustrate the many steps required to complete a successful Historic restoration.

We received the 1920 vintage fixtures in pretty sad shape. Over the years, parts were broken and missing, the finishes were completely degraded and the electric system was a mess. The zinc came that was typically used to hold the glass had failed over time and resulted in many of the etched glass parts to break or disappear. A critical light diffuser was missing from all the fixtures and there was no record of what it looked like. This missing part was critical to the successful restoration.

We were able to create a replacement part that shared design elements with the original chandelier. Our design historian and engineering department created a 3D program that would be used to make the casting mold for the missing part.