The Maryland State House is the oldest state capitol still in continuous legislative use and is the only state house to have ever served as the U.S. Capitol. When the State of Maryland decided to restore the building, it chose to have it appear as it would have in 1878, even though the building is much older.
Following an open competition, Rambusch was selected by the Christman Company at the direction of Ron Staley to create historically-appropriate chandeliers and other fixtures for the Delegates Chamber following the specifications of Domingo Gonzalez Associates.
Relying on its previous experience restoring and modifying luminaires from the period, Rambusch participated with the design team in a design-assist process for the project. Despite a dearth of historical reference material from the Chamber, Rambusch mocked up a sample section of the proposed chandelier consisting of the central stem and a single arm carrying glass globes. The resulting fixture closely resembled chandeliers of the period.
The sample chandelier showed the proposed layered, patinaed brass with satin- polished highlights that provide a decorative frame for the handwheel-cut glass shades.
The shades provide decorative sparkle for incandescent lamps while providing a soft glow reminiscent of candlelight. This is a perfect example of the firm’s experience fitting period fixtures with new candelabra lamps without disrupting their historic integrity. Prototypes allowed the design team to visually confirm the design and illumination. Without this tactile mockup experience, many adjustments would never have occurred.
With the sample approved, one large 18-arm chandelier and two medium 12-arm chandeliers were created by Rambusch, as were smaller wall sconces, table lamps, and torchieres.