09 August 2009

a new memorial

Although the focus of our business is conservation, we believe that we also have a contribution to make during the design and creation of new artworks, memorials and other structures. As conservators, we have a very good understanding of the way in which materials deteriorate over time. With this insight, we are able to provide artists and designers with advice on how their scheme might behave after it has been made or constructed, and installed. When there are sufficient resources for us to contribute in this way, we are able to guide the artist or designer with their selection of materials and detailing of the memorial or artwork so as to minimise the risk of undesired deterioration, and to extend the likely service life of the item in use.

Which means of course that we won't be called in after just a few years to advise on how to fix up the problems which might otherwise occur! But we'd much rather not be trying to conserve items that are only a few years old, because it is always a very difficult exercise. Not only do we have to convince the owner to spend more money on the item, but we have to work with the artist or designer to develop alternative detailing solutions that often, from their point of view, compromise the item which looked so good when it was completed.

The most recent example of us providing this type of advice is the recently opened Australian Korean War Memorial at the northern end of Moore Park.

We worked with the artist, Jane Cavanough, and the landscape designers, POD, throughout the detailed design process to optimise the long-term durability of the memorial through careful material choices and design detailing. Recently opened, the memorial is an inspiring place despite its location between two major arterial roads into the city.

David West
International Conservation Services

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