The rotunda is composed of marbles in various shades, which appeared dingy after accumulating 100 years of dirt and grime and were obscured by dim lighting and weakly filtered daylight. "Originally, natural light entered the rotunda through the skylight," explains Beyer Blinder Belle project architect Cleary Larkin. "For curatorial reasons, we closed it off from daylight and added a new lens and electric light source to a roof-mounted enclosure."
These improvements, combined with the new simulated daylight and retrofitted fixtures, allow visitors to fully appreciate the rotunda's mosaic panels and lapis lazuli columns.
Restoration work included cleaning the surface ornamentation (including restoration work on the wallpaper) and a new lighting strategy. New bases were created for some of the sculptures; the books in the perimeter cases were removed and cleaned.
In the West room, which served as J.P. Morgans private study, time had taken its toll, fading the red wallcoverings and furniture and dulling the finishes
The result is a much softer lighting scheme, which allows the again-vibrant reds to glow in the space.
An outdated lighting system combined with reflective acrylic panels in the bookcases made the East room, or library, seem dim, and did not show off the massive collection of rare volumes.
Over the entry door, the team restored and reinstalled the original chandelier (which had been in storage since the 1940s), and they laid a newly acquired antique carpet, similar to what would have been in place originally.
Each case was cleaned and the existing acrylic panels were swapped for a new nonreflective acrylic material.