The Plaza Hotel is one of the most famous and celebrated hotels in the world and has a remarkable history which I am not covering in this story. As a glass artist, I would like to present one of the best known decorative glass ceilings in North America.
For over a century, The Palm Court at the Plaza Hotel has been New York City’s iconic destination. It is well known for the room’s signature feature: a beautiful stained-glass dome reminiscent of the historical stained glass lay-light installed in 1907.
Modelled on the Winter Garden at London's Hotel Carlton, the Palm Court featured a leaded and stained glass ceiling designed in the Neo-Classical Revival style by architect Henry Hardenbergh with interior decoration by E. Spencer Hall & Co.
The Palm Court received the most attention in the press, one commentary noting that “There is no provision for a roof garden; the lofty tea room on the main floor with its spreading palms and tropical plants supplying in some measure this now-common feature. . .” While The New York Times noted that “This profusion of greenery, together with the mirrors, the long casement windows, and the glass dome, with sunlight sifting through, combine to give a cool, open, garden-like effect.”
The original glass dome
I am really in love with the design and glass selection of the original leaded glass ceiling lay-light that was installed in 1907. The reason is that a historical Tiffany stained glass skylight was originally fabricated with transparent textured glass letting natural light in. Leaded black lines in combination with lightly textured (cathedral) transparent glass created an intricate airy lace of glass fabric. Taking into account
To be honest, I like less the latest replica of the glass lay-light installed in 2007. Despite that, I accept that it is one of the most impressive glass ceilings of the 20th century and it brings a unique unforgettable experience to the Hotel's visitors.
From the start, the roof of the hotel was constructed in a way that was not durable causing some leaks and other problems. As a result, the hotel's roof evidently dated to the 1940s. Additionally, at the start of the Second World War Two, the city ordered that all skylights in public buildings were tarred or painted over so that any enemy planes that might flight over North America could not see lights leaking into the sky. Sadly, the original iron frame was destroyed and the glass was removed. Only a few little chunks of glass survived.
The latest stained glass ceiling was recreated by Botti studio in 2007. Since a 1921 addition blocked the natural light, the new decorative glass ceiling was designed with artificial lights above the glass lay-light to imitate the impression of sunlight. Moreover, a lighting system subties changes to suggest the time of day. Because of that, the glass selected for the project was from an opal family, that does not transmit all light and creates a darker, more solid impression comparatively to the original skylight
The reconstructed 1 200 sq feet domed ceiling was fabricated with 1,5 million dollars budget.
- The Plaza, Official website
- At the Plaza: An Illustrated History of the World's Most Famous Hotel,
By Curtis Gathje. Page 26
- Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry By Stanley Turkel. Page 263
- A New Ceiling for the Plaza, but It Has Plenty of History, New York Times
- The Experience of Place, Tony Hiss Page 98
- Plaza Hotel Interior. Designation Report New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission Page 11, 57
- A History of New York City's Landmark Interiors by Judith Gura
- The Business of Art
Victoria Balva, Glass Artist, Toronto
- Classic inspired domes
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- Historical glass ceilings
- Index page
- Interior design ideas with stained and leaded glass
- Large flat skylights
- Leaded glass doors and windows
- Raised and domed leaded glass skylights
- Small skylights
- Stained and Leaded Glass Dome