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Bridgeport, CT turned a great old house into a city museum, mainly featuring favorite late citizen P. T. Barnum and a wooden carousel. P.T. lived in style, and though his house is long gone, they wanted the gaudy Moorish-revival spirit of 'Iranistan' to survive. Archicast was called on to create a molding and ceiling medallions. These were all sculpted from drawings by David Parker Assoc. of Southport who coordinated the museum design.

The molding features little cutout areas, to simulate stamped metal perhaps. This was achieved by casting peaks in the rubber mold to produce low points; then we rasped them down from the back until the holes peeked through. This design caused weakness, zones where the moldings could easily crack, so we cast the moldings with Hydrocal FGR-95 (and fiberglass as always) for great strength.

The ceiling medallions were something else. Starting from drawings and an old photo, we sculpted big graceful leaves alternating with flowers on stalks. Made in four identical quarters, the plaster background was the same thickness as the sheetrock used on the ceiling. Then a daisy casting crowned the medallion, and finally the chandelier was hung. All were goldleafed as you see.

Another area of the museum required us to reproduce a five-leaf wall bracket designed by early American architect Andrew Jackson Downing. Each leaf is cast and fit, then glued with plaster.


photos: Shana Cohen

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