May 21, 2013

Schonbek lighting shines in 'The Great Gatsby'


PLATTSBURGH — Chandeliers crowned with delicate crystal leaves and draped with strands of precious crystals glitter in “The Great Gatsby.” 

They were crafted in Plattsburgh.

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Schonbek, located in the town’s Air Industrial Park and part of Swarovski Lighting, created the five Roman Empire chandeliers and also four wall sconces of the same style that are featured in the recently released film.

“I would call it (Roman Empire) one of the archetypal styles of a chandelier,” said Doris Gunther, director of communications and trend at Swarovski.   

There are some incredible shots of the chandeliers in the opening scenes of “Great Gatsby,” said Swarovski Lighting Content Coordinator Kate Cole, who saw the movie based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel.

And it was incredible, she added, to see something created in Plattsburgh featured in a major Hollywood movie.

It took about 200 hours to complete the nine pieces, Gunther said.


Schonbek, a leader in the design and manufacture of crystal lighting fixtures, has about 400 employees in Plattsburgh.

A group of them planned to go see the film together sometime this week. 

Gunther said Swarovski has an office in Los Angeles that works closely with many Hollywood studios.

Staff at Warner Brothers contacted Swarovski in August 2011 about the lighting needed for the “Gatsby” sets. The Los Angeles team put them in touch with the Plattsburgh location.

The nine Schonbek creations are seen in the home of Tom and Daisy Buchanan, used to help re-create the Roaring ‘20s atmosphere that is the setting for the movie.

Mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, is madly in love with Daisy, and that grand passion drives the plot of the film.

Two-time Academy Award winner Catherine Martin, the production and costume designer for “The Great Gatsby,” spent 14 weeks to supervise creation of 42 sets in and around Sydney, Australia, where the movie was shot. 


The chandeliers were only on loan to the movie production company and have since been returned to Swarovski Lighting. 

Gunther said it is too soon to know what will happen to the pieces.

All Schonbek chandeliers are hand-made in the United States, Gunther said. The Roman Empire model can be seen on the company website and is available from its retail stores, she said, so anyone can have their own piece of Hollywood history.

Schonbek products have also been featured in movies such as “Black Swan,” “Mirror, Mirror” and James Bond film “Die Another Day.”

In addition, a sparkling Swarovski crystal curtain has been used as the backdrop of the Academy Awards telecasts for the past nine years, Gunther said.

“Our mission is to add sparkle to people’s everyday lives,” she said. “We were happy to add sparkle for the moviegoers.”

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