New to World of Building, Designer Avers
Eighteen Feet in Diameter, Enameled Metal Pieces Took 6 Months to Make
A new mode in building decoration, using highly colored metal plaques, has been tried out at Rockefeller Center. On the façade of the International Music Hall fronting on Fiftieth Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, are three of these ornaments. The three are circular and eighteen feet in diameter. Each is placed sixty feet above the sidewalk forming a complete decorative scheme in harmony with the entire development.
Oscar Bach, metal craftsman, who personally undertook the execution of these plaques, following a design by Hildreth Meiers, said yesterday that they were the first and only building decorations of this type in the world. They required six months to build.
“These plaques are akin to gargantuan pieces of jewelry,” Mr. Bach said yesterday. “No machinery being available to cast these huge figures we were obliged to beat them into shape by hand in the manner of a silversmith. The riot of colors that are part of this scheme are due to a special enameling process we have used calling for a lavish display of genuine vitreous enamel. This process is almost imperishable. I believe these plaques will last as long as the universe. This is not hard to comprehend when I tell you that these plaques are chromium steel, duraluminum, bronze, brass and copper. And each has a specified purpose in the makeup of the pieces. Indeed, it is interesting to note that in recent Egyptian discoveries the enamels uncovered are in an almost perfect state of preservation, being as bright and shiny today as they were when they were made thousands of years ago.
“It was necessary to execute these three plaques and also the thirty-seven feet long rectangular one on the north façade of the RKO Photoplay theatre entirely by hand.”
New York Herald Tribune, November 13, 1932
Designer of Huge Medallions
By Ethel C. Ince
The brilliantly decorative mosaic figur
es which will adorn the exterior walls of the two theatres in Rockefeller Center are the work of a woman who has won international renown in the field of design – Miss Hildreth Meiere.
In designing the medallions for Rockefeller Center, she is employing mediums she has not used before, enamel and metals. “I shall bring out the metallic quality most vigorously. The enamel will be used sparingly,” Miss Meiere said as we stood in her studio in West Fifty-seventh Street looking at preliminary sketches of the designs. “I shall try to bring out the beauty of the material itself, the color, sheen and texture of the different metals.”
Among the metals to be used will be chromium steel, ordinary steel, bronze, copper, nickel-bronze. Oxides will be used to get various degrees of tone. The enamels will be genuine vitreous enamels. All the work on the medallions will be done by hand, each being made in four or five sections and then hoisted and fastened into place on the building 60 feet above street level.
Three circular plaques, 18 feet in diameter, to be placed on the south façade of International Music hall, will depict conventional figures representing the spirit of song, drama and the dance.
The Christian Science Monitor, Boston May 18, 1932