Cincinnati Museum Center Gifted Original Design Records of Union Terminal's Interior Designer

Architect and interior designer Edgard Sforzina had a major influence on the then-train station's Art Deco style.

click to enlarge A drawing of Union Terminal's Board of Directors Room by Edgard Sforzina - Photo: Provided by Cincinnati Museum Center
Photo: Provided by Cincinnati Museum Center

A drawing of Union Terminal's Board of Directors Room by Edgard Sforzina

Furniture, personal papers, drawings and business records of the man responsible for Union Terminal’s interior Art Deco style have found a new home at Cincinnati Museum Center.

French-American architect and interior designer Edgard Sforzina is one of the artists behind the Art Deco masterpieces inside former train station and now-museum Union Terminal. Now, thanks to Sforzina’s granddaughter Denise Allen, more of his collection and work will live at one of his most prominent projects.

“A bit of Union Terminal is coming home,” Elizabeth Pierce, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center, said in a press release. “We consider Union Terminal to be among the premier examples of Art Deco architecture in the country, and we’re not alone in that assessment. With the addition of Edgard Sforzina’s papers and furniture, we not only tell a more full story of our National Historic Landmark, but of Sforzina’s critical role in it.”

Allen recently donated Sforzina’s drawings, photographs and professional records, along with pieces of furniture he designed, including a music cabinet and his daughter Lulu’s childhood bedroom set.

“Pertaining the Cincinnati train station, that was, in the eyes of my French family, the highest moment of his career,” said Allen said in the release. “If his things can continue to be useful [to the Art Deco and design community], that’s probably the best tribute I can make to him.”

The records will be housed in the Manuscripts Collection, and the furniture pieces will be part of the History Objects and Fine Art Collection.

Sforzina was not publicly credited with Union Terminal’s interior design at the time, but the museum says articles and trade magazines recognized his work. The historic President’s Office suite, president’s office and board room are where his influence is most prominent. Comparisons to his drawings and other design work also suggest he influenced the design of the walls and ceiling fixtures of the Rookwood Tea Room, which is now an ice cream parlor, and the terrazzo floor patterns in the rotunda and concourse.

The museum says this donation of Sforzina’s work will help researchers studying the Art Deco movement and may be part of future exhibits.

Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., West End. More info:

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