30 years after the construction at Kfar Chabad of an exact replica of Chabad Lubavitch World Headquarters – known as “770” for its house number on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn – including a re-creation of the office of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, a miniature model of the Rebbe’s office has now been crafted by miniaturist Nava Steinmetz. The model was built at a scale of 1:15, measuring 55 cm x 38.5 cm x 30.5 cm.
As often happens, Steinmetz was inspired to create this model by a visitor to her Raanana studio, who, having seen the miniatures in her show window, suggested this special project.
Nava made a special trip to Kfar Chabad, where followers of the Rebbe first screened a short video about the Rebbe, and then showed her around the life-size duplicate of the Rebbe’s office.
“When I entered the room, I was moved and felt the spirit of the Divine Presence, and was spiritually inspired and uplifted by the power and status of the large room, by the giant library full of holy volumes, by the stained glass windows – with the Rebbe’s desk and chair standing in the center.”
“I took a number of photographs and said to myself that this would be a miniature that would not be difficult to construct, yet that would be very challenging. When I returned to my studio, I transferred the pictures to my computer, and when I viewed them with magnification I understood that I was in error.
While the office is rather modest, it also has a very intricate beauty that is not obvious at first glance. Special wood etchings on the doors, etchings on the bookcases, window frames with a number of layers, cornices on the ceiling, and more.
“I had to go back to Kfar Chabad. On my second visit, I had new photographs done by a professional photographer, and I took the measurements of every detail of the office in order to maintain proper scale.
“For a long time after my second visit to Kfar Chabad, I planned and considered how to make the various items. I searched every possible website, throughout the world, to find the correct cornices, the lamps, and other materials. I couldn’t find all of the ornamentation and cornices, so I had to make them myself.
“I began the work by making sketches based on the measurements, and then came the stage of cutting pieces for the many shelves, the wood window frames, the doors, and the desk components. The hundreds of books in the room were sketched and designed on the computer, and then were glued, almost one by one.
“The creation of the ornamentations, the cornices, and the numerous wood etchings on the upper portions of the bookcases, and next to the lamps between the bookcases, required a great amount of etching, sculpting, and cutting of the various materials. To achieve the correct and precise shade of paint, I painted several coats of paint and then visited the Rebbe’s office again to check that the color was actually correct, because it is very difficult to precisely remember color, and photographs change the shades depending on the lighting at the time the photo is taken.
“I created the floor just like a real hardwood floor, as it is in the Rebbe’s office. I glued it together from many pieces of wood, and applied wood stain until achieving the precise color.”
Not only the office’s interior was modeled in miniature, but also the external portions – the wall containing the main entranceway within the building painted white and decorated with wood stripping, a wall housing the windows, and another wall faced with hundreds of red bricks.
Following is a list of the pieces that comprise the miniature:
185 pieces for the shelves and cabinets around the office.
328 pieces for wood strips for windows and cornices.
14 pieces for door handles.
561 pieces for holy books.
49 pieces for upper white panels and the flowered squares.
87 pieces for the brown panel above the shelves.
10 pieces for wood ornamentation between the lamps behind the desk.
2 pieces for the door etchings.
828 pieces for red mosaic tiles.
This is the first miniature model in the world of the Rebbe’s office, including some 2,064 individual pieces that were cut, processed, and painted by artist Nava Steinmentz in her Raanana studio.