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The PrivateBank Feature

An interior renovation of a historic D.H. Burnham bank salutes the past while embracing contemporary aesthetics and state-of-the-art technology.


The design team aimed to conserve the historic character of this 1912 neoclassic skyscraper while adding a lighter more contemporary brush stroke with finishes and furniture. Madonna Williams, Jim French of JFrench & Associates and Susan Fondrie from Uihlein-Wilson Architects drew inspiration from original drawings and architectural details revealed as layers such as drop ceilings where removed.

Private Bank LampFluted columns and crown molding provide classical detail while floor to ceiling glass walls cast a modern touch. Historic photos and maps displayed throughout evoke an early era and celebrate Milwaukee's banking history. Beidermeier styled office furniture bridge modern and historic design. While the interior color palette is reminiscent of Burnham's White City at the 1893 Columbian Exhibition, the resulting effect is clean and contemporary. The 13,000 square foot renovation created a sophisticated and inviting environment for the bank's clientele.


Brass Light Gallery was chosen to provide all the decorative lighting for this project because of our commercial lighting experience, our ability to customize light fixtures to designer specification and our breadth of Neoclassic alabaster lighting designs.

TuscanyUpon entry to the bank a reception desk greets customers. Two decorative alabaster pedestal lamps flank the desk.

A 25 foot long faulted hallway serves as the focal point and main axis. Custom alabaster pendants from Brass Light Gallery add rhythm, light and glorious Beaux Arts style. The light fixtures' classical cast acanthus leaf ceiling canopies and acorn finials reflect the Neoclassical ornamentation of the building's exterior.

Glass walls allow meeting rooms to enjoy the natural light that flows through the main hall. Custom 24" Tuscany Pendants and Canterbury Wall Sconces with alabaster cup shades provide additional task light.

The conference room features a 152 inch table with custom cutouts for video conferencing. Three custom 24" wide Palladian Alabaster Pendants light the table. The light fixtures are suspended high enough off the ground so as to not interfere with sight lines to the flat screen monitor mounted on the wall.

The authentic 1910-1915 American reproduction task lamp and rotary phone add vintage detail to a public workspace for clientele.