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I’ve been working with Crown for almost three years. I trained as an engineer in the Philippines where I worked in construction, on houses and public buildings. Although the two professions seem worlds apart, the greatest transferrable skills are precision and problem solving. You need both every day for the intricacy of handling artwork.

Fine art tests your abilities. In one recent case, the installation of the Delvoye Tower, we had to erect the 5-ton sculpture on an uneven floor. In another, we had a 2-ton sculpture to hang off a wall. These kinds of technical challenges require some creative thinking as well as teamwork.

And teamwork is a big part of it. We’ve built a strong team for fine art with dedicated people who are knowledgeable about the subject and take care in the equipment they use. Wherever we go, each person knows their responsibilities and we all combine our individual skills to see the job completed.

I get a great sense of satisfaction seeing the product of our efforts, whether it’s a sculptural installation, a gallery exhibition or a piece that’s been packed to perfection. To be the first people to see works installed before the public gives us a real sense of pride. Most people have no idea what is involved in moving and installing art works, nor appreciate the effort and skill involved. But we do.

Fine Art Case Studies: 

The Flying Carpet

This unusual project entailed the complete installation of a magnificent 40 foot high, 1.5 ton "Flying Carpet" sculpture at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel in Dubai.

Crown Fine Art was appointed by l’Atelier Camelia, a leading art advisory and management firm in relation to expertly handling the installation of the Flying Carpet at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel.

The amazing artwork was created by renowned Middle Eastern artist, Halim Al Karim. The challenging installation was set on a wall 200 feet above the ground and required steely-nerved art installers to assemble the piece in a cradle at such heights, as well as an organized ground crew providing essential support.

By the end of the final day, there were some immensely proud faces of the team members who had been calm under pressure and innovative throughout. 

Dali's Elephants

This is surreal...Crown Fine Art brings Salvador Dali to the Middle East.

In collaboration with Opera Gallery, Crown managed two exhibition locations in a monumental tour of bronze elephantine sculptures by Salvador Dali. The show was the first time the artist's works have been exhibited in the region.

The exhibit consisted of two sculptures, Space Elephant and Triumphant Elephant, and is estimated to be worth approximately US $6 million, or AED22 million. As part of this tour, they were first presented at the Financial Centre Gallery in Bahrain last spring. Following a successful event, it was moved to the United Arab Emirates and displayed at the Dubai Mall, the world's largest shopping and entertainment destination located in the heart of downtown Dubai.

Crown Fine Art was privileged to be entrusted with a technically sensitive project of this kind. We coordinated all aspects of the process: from sea freighting the eight mammoth sculptures, owned by the Dali Foundation in Switzerland, to clearance in Bahrain, full installation in Bahrain, then repeating the process for installation outside the main entrance of the mall.

At each installation, a dedicated team of ten crew members and two technical project managers worked throughout the night lowering each piece into position with the help of cranes, forklifts and a great many strong hands. All efforts ensured a flawless install/deinstall in a race against the clock — the sculptures had to be in place before the malls opened for business next morning.

The Dali tour is another good example of the Crown team's technical ability and representative of the diverse range of tasks Crown Fine Art can undertake in an evolving fine art market in the Middle East.


Wim Delvoye Tower

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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