Design Development and Shop Drawings
Together the architect and I decided to make some adjustments. We extended the projection of the large cove above further into ceiling, changing the radial profile into that of an approximate ellipse and making the springing and crowning mouldings for the cove significantly more delicate giving the overall feeling of the cove a certain lightness. The canonical reference, that is to say theoretical design from an architectural treatise for the entablature assumed an exterior elevation realised in stone. As our project was for a somewhat confined interior space we decided that it made good sense to reduce the projection of the cornice. This turned out to be a good decision as the cornice can only be viewed from close range and this adjustment made the space feel more open. A final adjustment I would mention was our decision to "pulvinate" that is to say give a convex radial profile to the frieze. This is a move that Palladio himself might have made and adds a charming playfulness to the design.
Other visually prominent architectural enrichments were the bead & reel and egg & dart. For these we took a field trip to New York City to look at some fantastic precedent examples in stone and plaster. We found a wide variety of interpretations. The examples that resonated most with us had a clear contrast between the crisp, almost sharp elements with most delicate and sensuous of curves. Additionally, the architect expressed the desire of the eggs as being almost fully formed and as in high relief as possible. For the carving we used a very firm oil modeling clay from which we were able to mould directly.
Fibrous, pre-cast mouldings in gypsum plaster were uncommon before their accelerated development in 19th century France. Until then plain profile plaster mouldings were generally run-in-situ in with only the loose ornaments cast and affixed one by one if not actually modeled in place. However for lightly framed, drywall covered substrates typical of contemporary construction fibrous mouldings can be an effective solution. Because the pieces are cast and dry upon arrival the installation resembles that of millwork, comprehensible to general contractors. The mouldings are first "dry fit" to ensure they are level, plumb and in proper alignment with other architectural elements of the room.
Contributed by Patrick Webb