John Canning & Co. craftsmen completed the gold leaf work over the course of two seasons for this Boston building.

Boston State Street Building


Location: Boston, MA
Built: 1988
Original Architect: Gund Architects, Skidmore, Ownigs and Merrill
Style: Art Deco


Boston State Street Building Front View
Boston State Street Sol-Silicate Coating
Boston State Street Building After Gilding
Boston State Street Paint and Finish Removal
Boston State Street Building Gilding
Boston State Street GIlding

The design of 75 State Street, an iconic building in the heart of Boston’s Financial District, includes 5,000 square feet of gold leaf on heavily textured granite veneer wall panels. Since its construction in 1988, the elements of the harbor and weather took a toll on the conditions of the gold leaf finish, and John Canning & Co. was retained to restore the brilliant gold leaf that was known so well.

The durability of the genuine gold leaf, however, is only as lasting as the materials underneath. Surface preparation and priming were a key component in this project before new gold leaf could be installed. Each decorative element to receive new gold leaf, chevron, stripe, etc., were carefully stripped of the existing finishes. Because of the heavily textured granite, a combination of chemical and mechanical paint removal was implemented.

Tinted to a custom gold color, an exterior sol-silicate based coating was applied as a primer to the gold. Adhesion tests were performed periodically to ensure the coating was applied properly and achieving the desired results. Traditional oil size and 23.75K gold leaf were then installed to reinstate the scintillating feature.

John Canning & Co. craftsmen completed the work over the course of two seasons. The work was executed from bosun chairs while monitoring potential dangers, such as weather.