Third Annual Stanford White Awards – Submissions Due October 27th

The Institute of Classical Architecture and Art has announced the third annual Stanford White Awards for Excellence in Classical and Traditional Design. These awards recognize excellence in new classical and traditional architecture, interiors, landscape, urbanism, and building craftsmanship & artisanship throughout New York, New Jersey, and Fairfield County, Connecticut. The awards are named in honor of Stanford White (1853-1906), of the distinguished New York firm McKim, Mead & White, whose legacy of design excellence and creativity in architecture and the allied arts continues to serve as a source of inspiration and delight.

The 2014 jurors are Suzanne Tucker, Tucker and Marks Design; Michael Imber, FAIA, Michael Imber Architects and David Jones, AIA, Jones and Boer Architects.

For details visit:

Winners will be celebrated at an Awards Presentation on December 3rd in New York City at the Highline Hotel.

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ICAA SoCal 10th Anniversary

October has always been my favorite month, and this October will be even more special.

Not only will I celebrate my own birthday this month (yes, it does keep getting better!), I’ll be celebrating with the Southern California Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture on its Ten Year Anniversary.

The roster of events kicks off October 1st at Therien on La Cienega Blvd, with the opening of the exhibition Idea & Manifestation. LA has a vibrant and active chapter of the ICAA, and our creative community will be represented by work from forty artisans, architects, artists and interior designers in the show.

Idea & Manifestation will be on view through October 18th.

Check out the ICAA So Cal’s website for information on all the Ten Year Anniversary events, and to RSVP:

-Valerie Thomas, Remains Los Angeles

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Architectural Plaster Factory

I visited my friend Adrian Taylor, one of the owners of Hyde Park Mouldings recently. Those guys are working on a small custom project for us and I had to bring them some of the hardware. Their factory is out on Long Island. If you look for it on the satellite view of google maps, it looks a bit like someone dropped a large bag of plaster on nice factory building. These guys use a LOT of plaster. Actually, it’s totally amazing what they produce with the simplest of materials, plaster, water, and burlap: basic, natural, and incredibly versatile.

They make classically inspired ceilings, domes, moldings, and other architectural work in a few methods.

Pretty much everything starts off with artists in the sculpture department.

They carve and model the masters in clay. Those masters are then molded, and the molds then cast in plaster reinforced with burlap, and assembled into full ceiling or wall elements.

When they need to create straight runs of a molding profile, they cut a steel knife and build it into a sled. The sled cuts the thick, but uncured plaster which is resting a trough.

When you are hungry at Hyde Park, make sure to put “only food” into the microwave. We chose, instead, to eat out at a Japanese place for lunch

-David Calligeros

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Glass Factory Visit

We paid a visit to one of our best glass suppliers recently. They’ve been hand blowing glass since the 1940s in West Virginia.

The factory is at the end of rutted road in a series of cool old shed buildings. Though they have over 50 people on staff, the workers were dwarfed by the cavernous space and the mountains of historic molds and equipment.

A four man crew works together at each station.

A gatherer or who gathers up the molten glass at the end of the blowpipe (and will often put a small bubble in the glass with a little puff), the Gaffer who does the lion’s share of the blowing, the blocker who opens and closes the cast iron mold, and the assistant who carries the finished glass to the lehr (a huge oven with a super slow conveyor belt for cooling the glass).

I knew glassblowing was hot work…that is pretty self evident. I didn’t realize how physical it is, however. The glass is heavy, the pipe is heavy, and in the heat, it’s all quite a production.

We looked over some of our work there. They make our large Sorenson lantern glass in this massive cast iron mold.

We were also looking for more profiles to work into some custom jobs. They have a massive, though somewhat uncatalogued, stock of molds.

In one large room they house “The Decorating Department” where a few women painstakingly paint the glass shades with a glass-bearing paint. The shades are then fired in a large kiln. This work isn’t up my alley, aesthetically, but the craft is exceptional.

For glass that doesn’t make the cut, kind of like the nuts that don’t pass Wonka’s squirrel test, there’s the “BAD GLASS” bin.

-David Calligeros

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Interesting Things in the Scrap Pile

I was recently walking past the old Lot’s Road power station in London. This complex supplied power to the London Underground system until about 10 years ago when it was decommissioned. Supposedly now it will be redeveloped as condominiums and shopping and the like, hopefully retaining the original historic shell.

The power plant is right around the corner from our showroom in the Chelsea Harbour Design Centre. In fact, it’s a distinctive and much enjoyed aspect of the view out our windows. (that’s the picture below)

Lots Road power station

On my way to the showroom, I saw down an alley between the old brick buildings something lighting-ish. With a little snooping, no guard on duty… and closer inspection I found a pair of enormous chandeliers leaning on a pile of rubbish and scrappy old fencing. You can gauge their size by the broken ironing board in the background. I have the idea that they were set props or restaurant furnishings. The quality and scale is theatrical, rather than fine.

It took me a good 5 minutes to definitively decide that there was no way, in fact, to cart them off to the showroom or bring them back to Brooklyn. I hope a stronger-backed, British version of me, driving a pick-up truck, also saw and then rescued them before the garbage truck arrived.

-David Calligeros

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New York Law to Limit Light Pollution

With the support of lots of citizen input, the New York State legislature passed a bill that will limit light pollution. This is a piece of legislation supported by the International Dark-Sky Association (

The gist of the law is that new exterior lighting installed in new projects should not waste energy, pollute the night sky, or produce glare or light spill. You can read the summary of the bill on the state assembly website: here.

At the moment, the bill is on Governor Cuomo’s desk. If you agree with its aims, give him a call and say so. If you call during business hours, call: 212 681-4580 or see below for more information on reaching the Governor.

It may well make my work more difficult as the regulations may call for design changes in our fixtures. However, it’s a fine idea. This should be a good thing for those of us who like seeing the stars at night and don’t like your neighbors’ flood lights shining in your eyes.

-David Calligeros

To call the Governor’s phone number and let them know that you are in favor of this bill:
During business hours, call 212-681-4580 and tell the person you support bill #A07489. You will be asked for your zip code in NY.

Outside of business hours you can leave a message at 518-474-8390.

Support letter goes to Governor Andrew Cuomo,
Governor of New York State
New York State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Letter in Support of Senate Bill S5275B/Assembly Bill A7489B

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Introducing the Duquette Dandelions

In keeping with Tony Duquettes decorative vision of exploding fireworks, starbursts, sunbursts and super novas, the new Dandelion fixtures by Remains Lighting are another example of his unique point of view. Duquette always insisted that his jeweled brooches could be blown up to become a chandelier… And vice versa….

He loved making beaded chandeliers for his clients and the Dandelion takes his idea of a fixture entirely made of flowers and turns one dandelion seed head into an entire decorative extravaganza. This new illuminated conversation piece for Remains Lighting takes a weed and turns it into one more of Duquette’s extraordinary ‘exclamation points’ for a room.”

- Hutton Wilkinson – President, Tony Duquette, Inc.

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Cast Irony

We restored a set of huge antique light fixtures for Restoration Hardware, which tickles me until I cry.

If you happen to drive down Greenwich Avenue in Greenwich CT, you can’t miss the huge new Restoration Hardware store in the old Greenwich Post Office. I pass that way fairly often on the way back south from our showroom on West Putnam Avenue. I had always admired the three large neoclassical lanterns hanging in the graceful curved neoclassical loggia. In a funny turn of fate, I got to see them up close, inside out, and upside down recently.

Restoration Hardware gutted and remade that historic space into a massive new showroom which opened last month. A friend of ours who consults on lighting design for their architecture projects brought us to the job last fall. We brought them to our workshops in the Brooklyn factory and made a painstaking restoration of the original glass and metalwork. You can see the progress of that work below.

Restoration Hardware's new store in the old Greenwich Post Office

Before restoration

Before: Arriving at Remains Lighting for complete restoration

In the Remains Lighting factory in Brooklyn

After restoration

David Calligeros

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