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Standing an impressive 8.5m and weighing in at nearly three and a half tonnes, the gothic tower sculpture, by Belgian artist, Wim Delvoye, is not so much an installation as a construction project – just the kind of heavy and complex work where Crown’s team excels.

The location for this towering sculpture is the supremely lofty 23 Marina, Dubai, a residential skyscraper lately erected, overlooking just about everything in the district.

Despite being, until recently, the tallest residential building on the planet, 23 Marina was impossible to get into with a crane – which presented a challenge as the Delvoye’s Tower looked impossible to erect without one. 

The sculpture was shipped initially from Belgium by Crown Fine Art and arrived for storage in our facilities in the Gulf. Shortly after arrival, we completed a detailed survey and condition report of the work. Having been on display in Paris and at the Biennale in Venice, it had received some damage to its delicate steelwork. More critically, it had arrived without the necessary fasteners to mount it rigidly to its base.

Installing the sculpture at 23 Marina was to prove a greater challenge than any of its previous sites. Crown produced a plan based on a temporary steel gantry, winches and tackle. To prove the feasibility of the idea, we did a mock build establishing the angles for the lift. This we did using a crane in the open air facilities at our site.

With a clear plan and the benefit of a rehearsal we were able to specify the infrastructure and materials required for the final installation. Our team has gained a lot of experience of complex and awkward installations, so when it came to the day we were thoroughly prepared.

We worked through the night to accomplish the task. 

The sculpture was transported on a flatbed truck to the site, craned off and rolled on dollies up a ramp into the entrance hall of the building. It sounds easy, but access to the lobby location at 23 Marina was through narrow glass doors 3m2. 

Working with winches and the gantry superstructure, the team gently layered the separate  sections onto one another, securely bolting each stage to its subordinate. We had to be especially careful maneuvering the larger sections working so close to a very beautiful (and expensive) marble interior. The final touch, to secure the pinnacle, could only be achieved with roped access, our rigger suspended from the gantry.

Good preparation and planning ensured the team completed the installation on time without any difficulties or damage to the work or the venue. Once again this is a tribute to Crown's growing confidence and capability in a market which demands the ability to adapt, innovate and diversify.

A classic Crown Fine Art team effort.

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