Ornamental Plaster & Scagliola

Decorative painting and plaster ornamentation work hand-in-hand to achieve environments of great beauty. Ornamental plaster conservation, restoration and replication are frequently provided by CSS in conjunction with decorative restoration when plaster is loose or damaged. Even missing elements of plaster ornament can be replicated from physical evidence or historic photographs.

New, architectural ornamentation can also be created to enhance an interior space. For instance, CSS has provided the addition of coffers, with and without rosettes, to barrel-vaulted ceilings in period-sensitive church renovations for which an elevated level of decoration was desired.

CSS also creates and restores the extraordinary imitation marble known as scagliola, which originated in Italy and was lavished on turn-of-the-century American civic buildings. Scagliola can be so convincing that even marble enthusiasts have been fooled by it. One indication of scagliola use is a very large expanse without joints. Also, marble is usually cold to the touch and scagliola is less so.

The technique for creating the gypsum-based product has remained shrouded in an aura of mystery for hundreds of years. Scagliola projects require knowledge of the material and its historical use in the U.S., as well as significant experience in creating it.

Conrad Schmitt Studios’ projects have included the traditional European technique that uses clumps of a doughy mixture with mineral pigment for veining, as well as the more common marezzo technique, which employs an almost liquid mixture and raw silk fiber for veining. The technique utilized in a restoration project is dictated by that of the original artwork.

By conducting a project’s ornamental plaster with the decorative painting, CSS can provide superior results and coordinate the execution of both specialties in an efficient and timely manner.


French Lick Springs Hotel

French Lick Springs Hotel

French Lick, IN

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