In the spirit of the collaboration between the associates of Apt Europe, and thanks to the synergy created between the partners IBIX srl, an Italian company, Ad Affresco, a French restoration company, and the French company SID France, a project called "Cultural Heritage Days" was conceived, taking place in Nice from the 31st May to the 2nd June. An opportunity for collaboration and exchange between organisations at an international level.
IBIX and its staff of expert technicians in diagnostics and cleaning, in collaboration with Ad Affresco's restorers and the SID France technicians, presented a conservation method to the directors of the French Republic's Protection Agencies that is based on collaboration and sharing of skills and technologies.
The programme for these days, packed with events, started on the 31st May with cleaning tests and diagnostic analyses at the prestigious Villa Schmitz, the work of architect Vincent Levrot, and included on the list of French National Monuments.
A diagnostic campaign was carried out in the presence of officials from the French Protection Agency to define and evaluate the state of preservation of the surfaces affected by various forms of decay. The preparatory analyses for the cleaning tests on various stone surfaces allowed the technicians to identify and define a specific protocol. Then, the cleaning tests, assisted by the pre- and post-intervention analyses, allowed the selective removal of the deposits present on different types of stone. In the afternoon, the IBIX operators trained the Ad Affresco and SID France technicians on the use of the IBIX Mobile Lab - a portable laboratory for carrying out the most important diagnostic analyses directly on site, in accordance with regulations.
On the 1st June, the results of the tests carried out the previous day were presented to the operators and the French Protection Agency directors, highlighting how the IBIX selective micro-aero-abrasion method allowed selected surfaces to be cleaned, removing decay without harmful abrasion. In particular, the analyses allowed the technicians to define the operating parameters for the selective cleaning of widespread phenomena of surface deposits, organic coatings and blackening. The method recommended by IBIX for carrying out this type of intervention involves: The application of a natural anti-moss agent in areas covered by this plant, cleaning the surfaces with selective micro-aero-abrasion, with the use of very fine-grained inactive vegetable or mineral substances (350mesh). After the cleaning operations, in order to preserve the monument for the future, the analyses carried out suggested a possible protective treatment to guarantee a reduction in water absorption at low pressure. After the test results were presented, the work moved to the cupola of the Ex-Franciscan Convent in Place Saint-François in Nice for new tests and analyses on historical surfaces.
The final day, the 2nd June, involved a workshop for the operators on fresco techniques. Materials, colours, pigments and application, with a demonstration of colour application and restoration on the frescoes at Villa Schmitz.
In conclusion, these days in Nice demonstrated the importance that an association such as Apt Europe can have for the world of restoration. Encouraging exchange and stimulating synergies between the top organisations at an international level always offers extraordinary opportunities for growth, and improves awareness of the potential techniques available to those working in conservation.