Why Can’t All Elevator Lighting Fixtures Look This Nice?

I had to scout an office space in the Chrysler Building the other day. As I was riding the elevator, I happened to glance up. You know you’re somewhere special when the architects cared this much about the elevator lighting fixtures:


Such a great pattern (attention musicians: this would make an awesome album cover!):


I know this represents just .01% of why the Chrysler Building is so special – but then again, maybe the reason the Chrysler Building is so special is because just .01% is that good.


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  1. Another gem! For the last couple of decades I have worked near the Chrysler Building (and have a great view of it from my office). I also live nearby, so I have a special place in my heart for the most beautiful building in NYC. More recently, because my dentist relocated to the 69th floor of the building, I have been able to take in the magnificent vistas looking out, along with all the wonderful architectural details within.

    About 20 years ago, the famous spire was due for some cleaning of its metalwork. And that provided me with a special phenomenon: In the early-morning, the sunlight would bounce off the spire and send its reflection onto interior glass within my office. The result was that the reflection — of only the shiny spire — seemed to be floating in mid-air.

    I recounted that all in a letter to the editor of the New York Times:

  2. I was able to go into the Chrysler building a few times and I could not stop looking up. The lobby is beautiful.

  3. The latest episode of 99 Percent Invisible (episode 100: http://99percentinvisible.org/episode/higher-and-higher/) tells the story of the competition between the Chrysler Building and 40 Wall Street to be the tallest building. It’s worth checking out!

  4. I had my offices in Chrysler for 25 years. When I moved in, the building was almost a slum, owned by Sol Goldman and Alex DeLorenzo. Over a period of years it was painstakingly restored by a succession of benevolent owners, including Jack Kent Cook. The biggest restoration was the lobby ceiling mural, which involved removal of recessed lighting and patching of the holes. I never fully explored every nook and cranny, although I finally managed to view all of the elevators, no two of which are alike. The vast array of woods from all over the world is astonishing. A few years ago they removed the newsstand in the lobby, which should never have been permitted. The attention to detail there was astonishing, down to the art deco wood and steel magazine shelving units and candy displays that were really well-disguised swinging doors cleverly concealing storage space behind. A small gem within a larger gem. The original marble in the individual hallways reveals a universe of ancient marine fossils, which took me only 10 years to notice. It almost broke my heart to have to leave the building. I recommend the eponymous book by David Stravitz with an introduction by Christopher Gray, with many photographs detailing the building’s construction.

  5. Even on elevators they’ve got those awesome lights! No wonder the Chrysler building is referred to as one of the most beautiful structures in New York. I didn’t realize these lights could cost a pretty penny. Seen some in the product line-up of http://www.lighting55.com but didn’t bother to look at the prices!