Project of the Month for October, 2003
New York State Court of Appeals Courtroom
This project involved the design, mock-up and manufacture of six custom chandeliers for the new York State Court of Appeals courtroom in Albany, NY, as part of an overall building renovation. When we were called into at the inception of the design phase. The fixtures in the courtroom, manufactured in the 1950s were not performing well and, in fact were a source of substantial glare for the members of the court. The goal of the design was to provide a chandelier that would have the appearance of the original chandelier but provide lighting that was up to modern standards.
We started with a shop drawing based on a photo of the original chandelier (below) and developed a scale and performance mock-up based on the drawing. The mock up was constructed of aluminum and housed 12 adjustable down-lights for task lighting and 12 globes around the perimeter on separate, dimmed circuits. The first mock-up was of a double-cone design with 12 lamps inside the cone. The interior lamps were eliminated because they would be a distraction to the court and contributed almost no useable light to the space. It was also decided to eliminate the inner housing and to provide a "wagon wheel" design similar to fixtures used in the Capitol Building across the street. The fixture was also reduced in size.
This mock-up was modified for a second round of reviews and a final design drawing was prepared by the architect. Shop drawings were submitted, approved and production started. We designed the down-light component as a locking gimbal assembly so that adjustment (up to 35degrees) could be set and locked so that it could not be disturbed during re-lamping. The down-lights are 75 watt PAR16 narrow floods. This would allow the needed range of adjustment to place light on the working surfaces.
The fixture body was hand fabricated from brass sheet, brazed together and polished. Each fixture incorporates more than 1,400 components, with over 85% of which were custom fabricated, machined or blown specifically for this project. The overall dimensions are 60" diameter, 96" tall and a weight of 225 lbs. The final product installation supervised by our personnel.
For the first time proceedings can now be televised without supplementary lighting.
Thanks to Rick Perry of The DeWolff Partnership for allowing us to build these fixtures.