A Historic Valentine’s Day

In love? In lust? Mr. Right or Right Now? No matter…make Valentine’s Day unforgettable by enjoying a little history and a lot of beauty…

New York
In New York, there’s a historic building at almost every turn. Wend your way to the Great White Way and see a show in any of the restored early-20th century masterpieces lining Broadway (maybe If/Then at the Richard Rogers). Or, for a more recent restoration, travel to the Upper East Side to visit the newly opened Cooper Hewitt Design Museum. Housed in the former Carnegie Mansion, by Babb, Cook & Willard, this 1901 masterpiece is as beautiful as it is interesting. EverGreene conserved the mansion’s historic finishes—luxurious wood surfaces, ornamental plaster, original Caen stone, intricate stenciling and decorative paint—before the museum’s December 2014 opening, revitalizing the space and making it a striking backdrop for the design innovations on display.

The Rainbow Room

Then, walk hand-in-hand down Fifth Avenue and pop into see the cherubs on The Sherry-Netherland lobby ceiling before arriving at the iconic Rainbow Room at the top of the Rock! The Rainbow Room is the apex New York City’s glamour and the place for great 3D activities: drinks, dinner & dancing. As part of a major renovation guided by Gabellini Sheppard Associates, EverGreene provided wall coverings and straight painting, installed metallic finishes on walls and ceilings, including gilding and a bas relief wall treatment. Its legendary dance floor, has been restored through a modern lens to once again embody the glamour and elegance reflective of its rich history.

 

The Pantages Theater

Los Angeles

Take in a “Wicked” Valentine’s show at The Pantages Theater, one of the most beautiful entertainment venues in Los Angeles. As host to the most spectacular shows on the national Broadway circuit, it’s a must for creating a night to remember. EverGreene restored the Art Deco ornament in the ceiling and walls of the 1930’s theater as well as 85,000 sf of metal leafing (gold, silver, copper and bronze) in the auditorium ceiling and theater lobby.
Visit the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel for post-performance tête-à-tête. The Polo Lounge has wined and dined Hollywood’s greatest stars throughout its history. It recently underwent renovation under the guide of designer Adam Tihany, but with the historic color scheme and other decorative elements intact, the revitalized look pays homage to the classic design.

The restored Music Room at Dumbarton Oaks

Washington D.C.
What could be more romantic than a stroll through Georgetown? Start your evening at Dumbarton Oaks. The gardens are ranked sixth in the world according to National Geographic,right alongside Versailles. The 19th century Federal-style house was completely renovated and restored to provide an authentic backdrop for the immense collection of Byzantine and pre-Columbian art as well as European masterpieces. EverGreene restored decorative finishes in the Music and Founders Rooms and conserved historic murals throughout the space to return the refined beauty back to this mansion-turned-museum.

After taking in the art and artifacts from countries abroad, you have a lot of choices for dinner and drinks: stay in Georgetown and head to the 1789, go to The Tabard Inn around Dupont or head downtown to the Old Ebbitt Grill. The Old Ebbitt was established in 1856, as a saloon in a boarding house and is the oldest restaurant in DC. Although it has gotten around since its 19th century opening, it remains a historical landmark. Celebrity statesmen and military heroes have reportedly quenched their thirsts at the bar, among them Teddy Roosevelt, whose big-game hunting trophies adorn the walls.

The Auditorium Theatre

Chicago
Designed in 1889 by Adler & Sullivan, The Auditorium Theatre is known for its perfect acoustics and innovative architecture. And on the lovingest day of the year you can catch the Joffrey Ballet. After multiple restoration and conservation efforts, The Auditorium’s stunning decoration (gold-leafed ceiling arches, bas-relief designs and endless wall mosaics and murals by Charles Holloway and Albert Fleury) has been returned to its original gleaming forms. The Auditorium makes a perfect start to a historic Chicago Valentine’s evening.

If there wasn’t enough gilding at the Auditorium, head to the Pump Room in Ian Schrager’s PUBLIC Hotel and sit beneath the glittering bar ceiling, gilded by EverGreene. At night, the bar transforms into a supper club, capturing 1930’s-style glamour with a modern twist. The menu includes late night tapas and specialty cocktails by their in-house mixologist.

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EverGreene Honors Black History Month

EverGreene has had the privilege of restoring numerous artworks by legendary black Americans. This month, we take a closer look at some of these murals and the artists who created them as well as a new project, the restoration of Civil Rights activist Medgar Evers’ home. Each of the projects, by contributing to the African-American historical narrative has contributed significantly to the United States as a whole.

Panels from Vertis Hayes murals, Pursuit of Happiness, were replicated in glass and serve as the iconic façade of the new Harlem Hospital Center, 2013.

 

Harlem Hospital Murals

The murals at the original Harlem Hospital, commissioned by the WPA in 1936, were likely the first major U.S. government commissions awarded to African-American artists. The murals were originally installed in several buildings that were demolished to make way for a new hospital center. EverGreene removed, conserved, reinstalled and restored these significant murals in the new 12,000-sf atrium gallery in the Medical Services Pavilion designed by HOK Architects.

Georgette Seabrook, Recreation in Harlem, 1937, undergoing conservation once installed in the new Medical Services Pavilion, 2012.

Georgette Seabrooke: Recreation in Harlem

Recreation in Harlem tells the story of 1930s Harlem in a series of vignettes, stretching across 108 square feet. The mural shows scenes of leisure, with figures drawn close together as if gathered for a snapshot of life in Harlem. The mural, originally designed for the Nurses Residence, was Seabrooke’s “attempt to give the nurses something to look at, something which they could partake in and find interesting rather than their own personal work which in a recreation room might not be as exciting as a subject apart.” Seabrooke was the only woman asked to create a work for the Harlem Hospital. The original sketch for the mural was rejected by the hospital officials, who had problems with the depiction of an all-negro Harlem. To appease them she added a few white figures but painted them facing away from the picture plane.

Over the years Recreation in Harlem had been damaged by fire, over-painted, and covered with drywall. Conservators carefully removed the post-historic paint layers and discovered that many vignettes were intact, though the overall composition was fragmented. The project team chose not to fully restore the mural to a like-new appearance, but rather recreated the figures in the severely damaged areas to unify the composition. The conservators used reversible conservation paint so that future conservators can work on the mural without disturbing the original, and differentiate between the original and new paint.

Charles Alston, Magic in Medicine (left) and Modern Medicine (right), 1940. Installed in the new Harlem Hospital Center.

Charles Alston: Magic in Medicine and Modern Medicine

Charles Alston’s two murals, Magic and Medicine and Modern Medicine, juxtapose traditional and modern healing practices in Africa and the United States. Originally installed facing each other, and above radiators (hence, the rectangular cutouts at the bottom), the new gallery design recalls the 1940’s spatial relationship to better articulate the didactic element of the two pieces. The Fang reliquary statue, a type of ritual art piece from Gabon, pictured in Magic and Medicine is contrasted with the giant microscope present in the center of Modern Medicine, conveying the differences in social and spiritual paradigms in each healthcare system.

Alston was not only a renowned artist but also one of the first African-American teachers at the Art Students league and MoMA. His work was exhibited in MoMA and at The Met, in the 1950’s exhibition “American Painting Today” and his painting Family is in the Whitney Museum’s permanent collection.

Vertis Hayes, Pursuit of Happiness, 1937. Installed in the new Harlem Hospital Center.

Vertis Hayes: Pursuit of Happiness

Hayes’ Pursuit of Happiness murals were originally painted in a narrow hallway in the first floor New Nurses Residence. The series chronologically follows the arc of African-American history: the forced migration from an ancestral African village to an American city, and explores the transformation that occurs. Hayes explores numerous motifs of progress symbolized by capitalism and the industrialized western civilization. Drawing from his own experience, one of the murals depicts the migration of African-Americans from the South to the North in search of a better lifestyle.

Four of the panels had been painted directly onto plaster and four had been painted on canvas. EverGreene conservators surveyed the murals, noted condition issues such as flaking paint and delamination of canvas from the substrate, and tested the plaster panels for stability. A system was developed with the design team for integrating the murals with the original architectural elements in a new gallery.

For more on the Harlem Hospital murals, click here.

John Biggers, Songs of the Drinking Gourds, 1987.

John Biggers was an American muralist and painter who gained notoriety in the 1960’s. In 1943, Biggers was featured in the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition Young Negro Art: The Work of Students at Hampton Art Institute. After travelling to Africa on a fellowship, Biggers returned to the US to teach at the Texas Southern University where he was named a Distinguished Professor in 1967. In 1988 he was named “Texas Artist of the Year” and received an Achievement Award from the Metropolitan Arts Foundation. Biggers’ artwork was heavily influenced by African and Southern-American culture and explores the interplay between both abstract and representational forms. In 2014, EverGreene conserved two large-scale Biggers murals in Harris County, Texas: Songs of the Drinking Gourds (1987) in Tom Bass Regional Park and Christia V. Adair (1983) in Christia V. Adair Park. The murals have been stabilized and restored. For more images of our conservation work click here.

 

Historic photo, Medgar Evers' Kitchen, 1963.

Medgar Evers House

Medgar Evers was born in Decatur, MS, joined the Army in 1943, and after returning home, graduated from Alcorn College and was hired as the first full-time field secretary of the NAACP. As a prominent Civil Rights activist in Mississippi, he worked to overturn segregation at the University of Mississippi; organize voter-registration efforts, protests and boycotts; and set up local chapters of the NAACP. He helped Gilbert Mason Sr. organize the Biloxi Wade-ins, protesting the segregation of the beaches in Biloxi, MI. Due to his high-profile position and work with the NAACP, Evers and his family were subject to numerous threats and violent acts. He was assassinated outside his home in the summer of 1963.

In 1994, The Medgar Evers House was renovated and since then has served as a historic house museum, memorializing Evers’ life and achievements. After repairing structural damage, Tougaloo College (the property owner) has been working to restore every detail of the house back to its 1963 appearance. EverGreene is currently replicating the wall paper that once hung in the kitchen of the mid-century home. The wall paper was removed shortly after the murder and the kitchen was painted for new tenants. Evidence of the original wall covering was found in historic photographs documenting the crime scene. Other restoration work completed by WFT Architects includes the removal of overpaint along the metal-tiled backsplash and uncovering the bullet hole in the wall separating the living room and kitchen, where the shot passed through the house the night Evers was assassinated. The museum will remain open throughout the restoration. For more information on the Medgar Evers House, click here.

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Meet the artist: John Coburn

John Coburn began working at EverGreene shortly after finishing his MFA at the New York Academy of Fine Art in 1997. In Bring It On (2006), we witness an attack on a well-groomed subdivision, from a bird’s-eye-view, rendered in a flat, graphic style—as if it were a screenshot from a video game. Bombs hit their targets in, comic book-like “kaboom!” or “splat”, while a murky, aluminum leaf fog hovers above the community. The scene pits serious tragedy alongside light-hearted play—the video-game missiles affecting mass destruction in a recognizable residential community—to ultimately achieve a striking comment on the way our federal government regards our own wartime actions.

From the artist:

The title, “Bring It On,” is a reference to the now immortal words of George W. Bush.
As much a piece of light decoration as a political statement, this work was made in response to the War in Iraq, as a reflection on the lightness with which it was undertaken.

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EverGreene Celebrates America at Work

 

EverGreene_America at Work
It’s Labor Day weekend and that means squeezing the last few drops out of summer. Commonly regarded as a bitter-sweet ode to the close of the season, Labor Day was originally conceived by the Central Labor Union and implemented by the federal government to pay tribute to the workers who contributed to the economic and technological progress of the nation. America’s first Labor Day, in 1894, was marked with parades and festivals across the country. While there are fewer Labor Day parades these days, these seven historic sites display artwork celebrating those who have rolled up their sleeves to make this country what it is today.

Harlem Hospital Murals / New York City: Vertis Hayes, The Pursuit of Happiness, 1937.

Vertis Hayes created a series of 10 murals for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) documenting one family’s move from an ancestral African village to an American city. These murals, originally adorning the walls of the New Nurses Residence, now hang in the new Harlem Hospital Murals Pavilion. Among The Pursuit of Happiness series is one mural depicting a family overlooking their new metropolitan home, complete with an over-sized cog and crowning smoke stacks. Representing the move from agrarian roots to metropolitan dwelling for a better life, the mural’s narrative (within the larger arc of the series) is one common to the American worker at the turn of the 20th century. EverGreene conserved and relocated these murals, salvaging an element of Harlem’s rich African American narrative and history.

EverGreene_Kentucky State Capitol

Kentucky State Capitol / Frankfort: EverGreene, Industry, 2009.

In 2009 EverGreene artists designed and fabricated four pendentive murals for the interior of the Kentucky State Capitol dome. Each pendentive artwork is imbued with Kentucky-specific symbology celebrating various aspects of the commonwealth’s heritage and culture. Industry depicts the Kentucky River flowing behind the figure Mercury, who represents commerce and trade. The figure on the right is manipulating a barrel of bourbon, one of Kentucky’s most notable commodities. The central figure’s anvil and hammer solidifies the Commonwealth’s history of manual labor and craftsmanship. It pays tribute to both the natural resources and our ability to cultivate them for communal benefit.

EverGreene 30 Rockefeller Murals

Rockefeller Plaza / New York City: Josep Maria Sert, American Progress, 1937.

Rockefeller Center’s iconic Art Deco lobby contains some of the most impressive—in both size and artistry—murals in New York City. EverGreene cleaned and conserved these distinctive murals, including Josep Maria Sert’s monumental 16’ x 41’ American Progress. The work conveys the building of modern America; men align themselves in tiers of action, handing off monumental materials, Abraham Lincoln is pictured with his hand on the shoulder of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

EverGreene_Utah State Capitol

Utah State Capitol / Salt Lake City: Various Artists, Cyclorama Murals, 1934.

The artwork in the Utah State Capitol rotunda was funded by the WPA and completed in 1934. The cyclorama, designed by Utah artist Lee Greene Richards and executed by other local artists, articulates scenes from 19th century Utah life highlighting American progress in commerce and agriculture. In 2007 EverGreene restored the decorative paint in the impressive dome, working with others who restored the murals.

EverGreene_Cincinnati Murals

Union Terminal Mosaics / Cincinnati: Winold Reiss, 1933.

The Art Deco-style Union Terminal in Cincinnati was home to 10,000 square feet of WPA mosaics by Winold Reiss. While the mosaic in the main terminal remains, most of them were relocated to the Cincinnati International Airport. The mosaics depict various industries integral to Cincinnati’s rich history and thriving economy. From soap-making to piano-manufacturing; and from WLW, once the most powerful radio station in the nation, to the Aeronautical Corporation of America, each mural pays tribute to the Ohio industries that shaped Cincinnati in the 1930’s. EverGreene cleaned and restored the Reiss murals and aided in their relocation to the airport.

EverGreene_Chrysler Building

Chrysler Building / New York City: Edward Trumbull, 1931.

The iconic Chrysler building defines the Art Deco aesthetic both inside and out. Its lobby murals, designed by Edward Trumbull in 1931 depicts the Chrysler Building itself and memorializes the men who built it. EverGreene cleaned and conserved the mural, stabilizing and consolidating areas of loose paint and removing layers of post-historic varnish.

EverGreene U.S. Capitol Westward Expansion Murals

U.S. Capitol Building / Washington, DC: Jeff Greene, Westward Expansion Murals, 1993.

The Westward Expansion Corridor murals, by Alan Cox, detail the growth of the US from early exploration through the 1950s. From mountain men to railroad workers, each vault commemorates those who aided in America’s geographic expansion. In 1987, EverGreene President, Jeff Greene won the national competition to complete the murals in a style compatible with Cox’s original work. The mural “Golden Spike” depicts the ceremonial final spike which joined the rails of the First Transcontinental Railroad.

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Meet The Artist: Gustavo Rojas

EverGreene Gustavo RojasGustavo Rojas has worked as an artist and designer with EverGreene for over 25 years. Originally from Colombia, Gustavo has exhibited internationally, including shows at the Bergen Museum of Art and Science, the Newark Museum and the Williams Center for the Arts. His work is a part of  Brooklyn Museum’s permanent collection as well as the Library of Congress archives. In Nueva realidad en un mundo diferente (1986) we witness the artist grappling with his roots—through the use of abstracted pre-Colombian symbols—and his present, digital world. His use of color and form are simultaneously surreal and familiar (for those of us who dream in the language of Nintendo and Photoshop gradients). The dichotomy of past and present is further accentuated in his use of acrylics and aerograph technique; a traditional medium in the service of a contemporary mode. From the artist:

Through my work, I try to highlight the richness of the inherited and destroyed culture of my ancestors and achieve its continuity. I acknowledge it through symbols, color, form and space with an abstract style, joining the past with the present, distances and time, and thus I carry the message that satisfied my thirst for expression and achieves a communication with the spectator.

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Six Historic American Sites to Put You In a Patriotic Spirit!

 


Celebrate the Fourth by taking a peek at some of the nation’s architectural treasures! Restoring and preserving our heritage—from coast-to-coast—helps us understand our past and create a brighter future. Happy Fourth!

 

 

The Westward Expansion Corridor murals, by Alan Cox, detail the growth of the US from early exploration through the 1950s. Each vault features a map in the cartographic style appropriate to its historical period along with sketches. EverGreene President, Jeff Greene won the national competition to complete the murals in a style compatible with Cox’s original work. The corridor was dedicated on September 17, 1993.

 

 

The Bob Hope Patriotic Hall was constructed in 1926 to honor and provide resources to veterans of the Civil War, Spanish-American War and World War I. It provided shelter for WWI soldiers and served as a processing center for the Army and Air Force during the Korean War. It has been restored and converted to a multipurpose facility with ample conference space for veterans and community members to meet. EverGreene cleaned and conserved original murals and decorative paint, marble and plaster in the entrance lobby and auditorium.

 

 

At 361’ high, The Illinois State Capitol is the tallest non-skyscraper capitol, surpassing even the United States Capitol. Designed and decorated by architect Alfred Henry Piquenard, it is an exemplary expression of the Renaissance Revival movement. EverGreene has helped to restore ornamental plaster, decorative painting, historic mural and specialty finishes in this ornate National Register building.

 

 

Built in 1713, The Old State House was the seat of the Massachusetts General Court until 1798. It currently serves as a history museum and is one of the landmarks found on Boston’s Freedom Trail. EverGreene regilded the crowning dome with 23k double Italian gold, restoring the awe-inspiring gleam to this historic site.

 

 

During the Civil War Clara Barton used this property as her home and as a place to store the supplies she needed for the battlefield. By the efforts of her and her staff, they identified of more than 22,000 missing soldiers. EverGreene identified replicated the original wallpapers combining digital printing with traditional hand painting and silk screening techniques.

 

 

The Mission Concepción was established in 1716 and moved to San Antonio in 1731. On October 28th, 1835 Mexican troops led by Col. Ugartechea and Texan insurgents under James Bowie and James Fannin collided in what is called the “first major engagement of the Texas Revolution.” The oldest unrestored stone church in America, EverGreene performed extensive materials & methods testing to preserve the remaining paints, frescoes, and plaster.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Meet The Artist: Zinni Veshi

 

EverGreene_Zinni Vesi

Zinni Veshi moved to New York from Albania in 1998 to attend the MFA program at the Pratt Institute of Art and Design. In his twelve years at EverGreene, Zinni has created new artwork for churches, state capitols and commercial spaces. His own paintings are dynamic and arresting; vibrant swaths of color move the eye from stroke to stroke around the canvas, unable to rest on one single form. Zinni’s dripping, abstracted human forms echo the gestural brushwork of the Abstract Expressionist movement.

The Wall exemplifies Zinni’s keen eye for line and rhythm as well as his affinity for the abstracted human form and vivacious color. From the artist:

“My paintings are created to express, articulate, and bring to life deep feelings, ideas or impulses that are fundamental to my existence. There are three factors that comprise the essence of my works: oil paint as a material; non- descriptive means of expression; and the non-representational use of the human figure.

The paint and the figure, and their interchanging relationships, create a pictorial, shallow, and haptic space that is governed only by the immanent laws of painting. Other factors that contribute in the formation of this space are the superimposition of the brushstrokes over brushstrokes, and shapes over shapes, the employment of the expanding/contracting quality of color, the movement of forces in and out of the picture plane, and the geometrical nature of the composition.”

Click below to view The Wall. 

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Rediscovering Ecclesiastical Symbology: The Search for the Ultimate Self

 

EverGreene Grace Church Restoration
The restored ceiling at Grace Church, Brooklyn

Throughout history, people have communicated meaning through symbols, especially regarding ecclesiastic images. At the recently renewed Grace Church in Brooklyn Heights, EverGreene designers and conservators worked to restore the historic decoration in the sanctuary and also its significance within the parochial canon.

A.W. Pugin , the 19th Century designer and architect, believed that Gothic design exemplified true Christian architecture. Grace Church, designed by Richard Upjohn in the Gothic Revivalist style, is an outstanding example: triumphant, pointed arches signify movement toward heaven; the central aisle guides visitors towards the altar (salvation); and intricate stained glass windows convey holy narratives. These are motifs and messages communicated through the stone and structure of Grace Church, but what sets this sacred site apart is the mindful interior ornament.

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Meet The Artist: Robin Roi

Robin Roi has been a Project Manager at EverGreene for more than 25 years. She has worked on EverGreene’s projects worldwide, from traditional marbleizing, to gilding, to inventing custom finishes and designs for hospitality, commercial and residential clients. .

She came to EverGreene after a successful career in New York City as a fine artist. Her work was widely exhibited and she was represented by the prestigious Barbara Gladstone Gallery. Previously, she had earned her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and her MFA from Claremont Graduate School in California.

Memento Mori  exemplifies Robin’s keen eye for pattern, line and material as well as her vast knowledge of art historical motifs. Created in 1980, this piece is currently on loan from a private collector. From the artist:

“A lifelong love of pattern and passion for story telling led me, in the 1980’s, to produce a body of work based on surface patterns with underlying narratives.  The pattern at the center of this painting was inspired by the linen wrapped mummies I saw at the Met. The painting is meant to represent the burial casing of a warrior.  Just as the Egyptian mummy casings told the story of the bodies inside with hieroglyphs and pictographs, I have done the same.  At the bottom are “Scenes from a Battle” –actually, the silhouette from Uccello’s famous painting signifying the warrior life of this hero.  At the top are scenes from his rich domestic life.  The two weeping willows at either end of the wrapping mourn his death while the hand shadows tell the story.”

Click below to view Memento Mori

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A Contemporary Finish; Acoustic Panels in the New Russian Lounge

The Russian Lounge in the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center, in Washington, DC, opens next month. EverGreene artists and fabricators created more than 100 acoustic panels, with a custom plaster finish, to be installed in the newly reconstructed lounge donated by Russian philanthropist Vladimir Potanin. The Russian Lounge joins other reception rooms dedicated to other foreign entities such as Africa, China and Israel.

The artistic vision for the lounge reflects design elements and aesthetics found in contemporary Russian culture. In collaboration with Russian architect Sergey Skuratov, EverGreene’s plaster artisans, fabricated Venetian finishes to be placed onto acoustic panels. The panels absorb sound, creating a restorative environment that is ideal for hosting receptions and dinners.

The Russian Lounge is unique among EverGreene’s projects and complements our historic work. Here, we exercised our contemporary design aesthetic to serve the minimalism rendered in the architect’s plans. Our artisans, trained in traditional techniques of sculpture and well-versed in the practical requirements of plaster installation, met the design challenges to create and fabricate these 12’ x 5’ plaster panels.

To achieve this finish, additives were sprinkled into the panel mold after which the wet plaster was added. The additives react to the water within the plaster, which results in a fizzing, bubble-like pattern in the face coat, giving it a unique, textured finish. The integrally-colored panels also contain a variety of aggregate that causes a sleek metallic sheen to the plaster’s surface.  The look and texture of each panel contributes to Sergey Skuratov’s polished aesthetic for the Russian Lounge while ensuring an acoustically pleasant environment.

In the studio, artists sprinkle an additive into the plaster mold

In the studio, artists sprinkle an additive into the plaster mold 

 

The wet plaster is mixed and added to the mold containing the additive

 


The additives react to the water within the plaster, which results in a fizzing, bubble-like pattern in the panel’s face coat

 


The bubble-like pattern is smoothed and refined resulting in a finished look for the acoustic plaster 

 

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