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Subject: Symposium on conservation of synthetic materials

Symposium on conservation of synthetic materials

From: Kathrin Kessler <kathrin.kessler>
Date: Monday, April 5, 2004
3rd symposium on the conservation of synthetic materials
Vitra Design Museum
Weil am Rhein, Germany
May 5-6, 2003

As part of the "AXA Art Conservation Project in cooperation with the
Vitra Design Museum", the Vitra Design Museum is holding Symposium
III on the conservation of synthetic materials on May 5-6, 2004.

After holding the first and second symposium on general issues of
conservation of synthetic objects and the possibilities for
preserving objects made of polyester, the third symposium is
concentrating on the curatorial aspects of polyurethane.

In the search for an elastic synthetic substitute for expensive
products made of natural rubber, Otto Bayer and his colleagues at
the IG Werk Leverkusen experimented with the source materials for
polyurethane and subjected it to technical refinements and
improvements from 1941 to 1959, when they were able to bring
polyether-urethane and foams made with the material onto the market.
Since the 1960s, artists and designers have been inspired by the
likeable new material and its properties to pursue innovative forms
of expression. In Italy in particular, the 1960s saw the forming of
a protest against the tradition-steeped doctrine of design.

The variety of material possibilities associated with polyurethane
has led to countless applications: elastomers, flexible, rigid and
integral foams, casting resins, varnishes and lacquers, adhesives
and linear chemical fibres. The majority of uses, however, involve
the processing into foam.

The symposium will focus on three objects:

    *   The chair shell of a prototype by Charles and Ray Eames from
        1968 with upholstery that was directly foamed onto the
        polyester chair shell is one of the first attempts to
        simplify the step of upholstering.

    *   A seat by the designer Gaetano Pesce entitled "Il Piede"
        from his UP series (UP7) from 1969, completely manufactured
        from polyurethane foam, is nowadays produced and sold by B&B
        Italia again.

    *   And another chair by Gaetano Pesce, one of the "Pratt
        Chairs" from 1983/84, was created in a series of nine chairs
        at the Pratt Institute in New York from what was then rigid

The objective of the symposium is to present the problems resulting
from signs of age and damage to the material polyurethane, to
exchange different experiences, interests and demands placed on the
material from the perspective of industry, manufacturers, designers
and conservators and to discuss conservation and preservation
measures. Participants will be invited to bring up their own
conservation examples for discussion.

The participation fee of 85 euros covers daily symposium materials
and concluding documentation, as well as lunch and refreshments.
The conference language is English. The number of participants is
limited; registration by April 30, 2004. Information and

    Alexa Tepen
    Vitra Design Museum
    +49 7621 702 3153
    alexa.tepen [at] design-museum__de

Kathrin Kessler
AXA Art Conservation Project in Cooperation
with the Vitra Design Museum
Vitra Design Stiftung gGmbH
Charles-Eames-Strasse 1
79576 Weil am Rhein
+49 7621 702 3182
Fax: +49 7621 702 4182

                  Conservation DistList Instance 17:65
                  Distributed: Thursday, April 8, 2004
                       Message Id: cdl-17-65-014
Received on Monday, 5 April, 2004

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