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Posts Tagged ‘Tiffany mosaic’


Mosaic Monday…Greige.


Mosaic Monday… St. Paddy’s Day Green.


Design Crack – The Windy City.

Visiting a city rich in historical architecture is  like crack for a stone and tile geek like me.  Around every corner  is an amazing building with beautiful decorative details. I can’t wait to get out on the streets with camera in hand!

Chicago, one of my favorite US cities, is a great walking city to see the development of American architecture and design. One of the city’s jewels is the Cultural Center, a stunning celebration of marble, Tiffany glass, and mosaics.  It also happens to have the largest Tiffany Glass dome ever constructed! Across the street from Millennial Park, it holds a place of honor on Michigan Avenue, yet the building’s sober classical facade gives little hint to the beauty inside.
I stumbled into it one day when I was in the city for a trade show and had decided to walk back to my hotel from the convention center on a scavenger hunt for cool architectural details…

This very modern looking glass and steel honeycomb ceiling that greeted me  in the vestibule of the main entrance, was just the beginning of a unfolding designorama. Once inside I feasted my eyes on the interior,  completely clad in

White Marble from Carrara, Italy and  inlaid with Tiffany  glass and gold leaf mosaics.  Add to this the ornate carved plaster ceilings and brass light fixtures and you can see why it was called the “Palace of the People” when it opened as the city’s first public library in 1897.



The inlaid glass borders surrounding the beautiful cast iron grill recalls Romanesque Italian designs, and I love how the marbleized glass almost mimics the movement in stone.

Apropos of a library, the names of famous authors are highlighted in classically themed mosaics though out the building… Check out the amazing chandelier modeled after a classic brazier.

At this point, my brain was about to explode, but I kept ascending the stairs, holding tight to the baluster to prevent the dizziness brought on by the decorative onslaught from  bringing me to my knees.

Along the way,  other amazing details came to light, such as the sensually curved marble walls. A sublime detail now, but an incredible technical feat at the time the building was constructed.

As I reached the top of the final flight of stairs to the main hall, now used for musical performances, I could just  glimpse the magnificent  Tiffany Glass Dome. Simply breathtaking!

There is so much magnificent decorative and architectural beauty in our major US cities, and I find all of it very stimulating and inspiring to my work. What is your favorite US city for architectural treasures?


All photo images and text are the property of Walker Zanger. Please do not use for commercial purposes without permission. You are welcome to repost. copyright 2014.

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