Yale Art Galleries Railing, Permanent Collection

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Client: Yale Art Galleries, Yale University

Location: New Haven, CT, United States

Completion date: 2012

Artwork budget: $278,000

Project Team

designer/ maker

John Rais

John Rais Studios LLC

client

Yale Art Galleries

Yale University

Overview

Designed for the permanent collection At Yale Art Galleries, the railing needed to some extent be simpatico with the existing Gothic Revival style of the building. Comprised of 93 individually custom forged steel railing infill sections, meant to elevate the staircase to a work of art while satisfying architectural safety codes. The railing spans 3 floors of the museum and approximately 125 linear feet. I began in 2010 as a consultant and designer and later, into manufacturing the art and installed in 2012.

Goals

The primary challenge was to make something that was simultaneously unique to myself as an artist, and having it look like it could have been there since the building was completed in 1928. The artwork needed to perfectly function as a railing, and be designed for installation in a museum setting, with all the other precious artwork on display.

Process

I worked with a committee at Yale comprised of a curator of decorative arts, an art historian, an archivist, and an architect who was the official project manager of the overall museum restoration and expansion. We were very sensitive to the museums needs, the history, and functionality of the staircase. We poured over documents from the building's inception and the architects intentions to create a visual link between the old and new.