Massachusetts State House

Historic Chandelier & Wall Sconce Restoration 

Project Info

Job Site Boston, MA
Architect CBT Architects
Lighting Consultant Ryan Stockman
Lighting Designer George Sexton Associates
General Contractor Colantonio, Inc.
Consultant Building Conservation Associates

Project Description

The Massachusetts State House is the state capitol and house of government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Built in 1798, the building houses the Massachusetts General Court and the offices of the Governor of Massachusetts. Located on top of Beacon Hill in Boston, adjacent to the Boston Common on Beacon Street, the building is situated on 6.7 acres of land. It was built on land once owned by John Hancock, Massachusetts first elected governor, and was designed by Charles Bulfinch, the leading architect of the day.

Grand Light removed, completely restored, and reinstalled the existing historic lighting fixtures, including a gigantic 30′ tall, 1850 lbs chandelier, eighteen cast brass wall sconces, and a set of beautiful torchieres located on the Senate Chambers podium. This project also included the design and manufacturing of custom chandeliers based off a historic photograph.

Grand Light’s specialists dismantled, disassembled, packed, and transported the historic chandelier, wall sconces, and torchieres without causing any disruption to the daily activities of the State House. Through the combined efforts of Grand Light specialists, Colantonio Inc associates, and State House personnel, this task was completed within one day.

After the removal, a 200+ page condition report documented the restoration of the historic 30ft+, 112 light multi tiered chandelier, wall sconces, and torchieres, and was used to accurately identify all components, document finish imperfections, mechanical, and electrical deficiencies including possible corrective actions or modifications.

Additionally this project required the development of adjustable uplights that highlighted the dome of the Senate Chamber. Grand Light engineers worked with the designers at George Sexton Associates to incorporate the use of an LED GU10 in the original lamp locations. A custom shade was designed and replicated to match exactly to what was original except this shade had an acrylic lens built-in to reflect light downward without interfering with the precise optics of the GU10 lamp required to properly light the dome. This lens reflected light in the glass so it looked like an A-lamp was evenly illuminating the shade.

The fixtures were transported back to the State House and Grand Light assembled the large chandelier and carefully adjusted eighty modified GU10 uplights at a precise 12 degree angle in conjunction with George Sexton Associates.

In addition to restoring the historic lighting fixtures, the project required Grand Light design and fabricate custom chandelier replications based on a historic photograph.

Project Accolades

“The completed project has brought the Senate Chamber into the 21st century while masterfully preserving and restoring its fine historic features. The result is a public space for the Massachusetts Senate that ensures its use by the Commonwealth and its citizens for decades to come.”

“There are few spaces that match the sensitivity required to bring modern functionality to an iconic historic space as Bullfinch’s Massachusetts Senate Chamber. Yet the vision and execution of the entire team shines through in a way that would make Bulfinch proud. This project shows that even the most historic of spaces can successfully accommodate 21st needs all while enhancing stewardship and meeting the highest of preservation standards,”

“The team relied on the extraordinary craftsmanship and ingenuity of many experts to decide how the restoration work was to be done and to perform the work with precision and care, most often by hand…Historical accuracy of all original designs were honored including careful disassembly and reassembly of the Chamber’s intricate chandelier.”

Project Media

Grand Light specialists assemble the historic Senate Chamber chandelier on-site.

Video Credit: Bruce D. DiLoreto, Legislative Photographer

Project Case Study

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