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Monday, November 14, 2016

Lighting up Vizcaya

One of the lamps in its current state.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens announced that it received a $20,000 grant from The Villagers to support the restoration of a pair of ornate metal and glass light fixtures that adorn the east façade of the Main House. This grant is one of only five special grants that The Villagers awarded in celebration of their fifty-year history of saving places throughout Miami-Dade County.

"Vizcaya is grateful for the support of The Villagers in restoring these delicate light fixtures," says Remko Jansonius, Vizcaya's Deputy Director for Collections and Curatorial Affairs. "As we kick-off our 100th birthday, restoring and preserving each element of the collection is critical to our ability to share the estate with the community for generations to come."

The light fixtures were made in Italy and purchased as antiques in 1916 for the estate from Lavezzo & Co., Inc in New York along with an identical pair that decorates the south façade of the Main House.

Built between 1914 and 1922, Vizcaya is located about 100 feet from Biscayne Bay. A century of exposure to the marine environment has taken its toll on these decorative and functional objects. Due to safety and preservation-related concerns, the fixtures were removed in preparation of Hurricane Wilma in October 2005 and have remained in storage ever since.

Vizcaya has contracted Rosa Lowinger & Associates, a conservation firm with studios in Miami and Los Angeles, to lead a team of conservators, metal smiths, electricians, engineers and glass fabricators to bring these fixtures back to their former glory. Conservation will include research, cleaning, corrosion removal, loss compensation and repair, refinishing, re-wiring, replacement of broken glass and reinstallation, as well as the development of a de-install method for removal and storage during hurricane season.

"We are honored to have been chosen as one of five award recipients of The Villagers 50th anniversary grants," says Lauren Hall, Vizcaya's Conservator. "These light fixtures, if left untreated, may have been lost due to 100 years of exposure to the elements."

Over the years The Villagers have worked diligently in their support of historic restoration and preservation. As Florida's oldest historic preservation organization, their impressive record of success includes numerous important projects in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Learn more at http://thevillagersinc.org.

To learn more about Vizcaya Museum and Gardens visit www.vizcaya.org.

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