Commissioned in the 1870’s by Charles Lewis Tiffany as a home for his company, the original building was among the best examples of cast iron architecture in the city. It has since been buried behind a layer of bricks. The new façade, composed of 15 ft. by 6 ft. glass sheets reveals this original cast iron structure. The glass curtain-wall is offset two feet from the outside surface of the cast iron structure.
The proposed, rather low-tech solution for exterior lighting is aimed to reveal the presence of the original Tiffany’s building at night. Dark blue cold-cathode tubes are mounted under the new glass “skin” of the building, at the top of each floor, above the cast iron arches, facing the exterior. The tubes are fully concealed from view on both, interior and exterior sides by two precisely positioned baffles. The baffles also limit the way the direct light of the tube reaches the arches, and help to re-distribute the light evenly over the tops of the arches.
The lighting effect is based on the perceptional difference between the natural light and the dark blue light of the cold cathode. At twilight, a subtle blue light becomes more noticeable with the progression of night. The resulting effect is subtle, but amplified by the scale of the whole installation covering both facades of the building.