Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

MV preferences beauty over banality

Mesh Direct creates breath-taking scaffold shroud on Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building, Wide Format Online, May 2019

A huge 26-metre tall piece of artwork, the iconic and beautiful Sylph of Spring, is being displayed on the side of the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne. “I honestly never thought it was possible to create something so extraordinary over scaffolding.”

The project length from start to finish was six months. Production of 600 m2 of printed mesh and finishing by Mesh Direct took four days using a Fujifilm Uvistar Pro8 5 metre wide device. Installation took another four days and was contracted out.

Background to the Sylph

In 2018, Museums Victoria was granted government funding for a rooftop deck giving 360-degree views of the Melbourne skyline from the 1880-built landmark. The Exhibition Building renovations started in early 2019.

However, Museums Victoria wanted to create something extraordinary which would create beauty rather than an eyesore while temporary scaffolding was up and renovations were underway.

They approached Mesh Direct, a company with expertise in grand format printing with the view to work together to create something spectacular for the façade of the Royal Exhibition Building. They wanted the best way to convey their images and ideas onto a giant canvas for maximum visual impact.

The Sylph of Spring, a magnificent painting found inside the walls of the Royal Exhibition Building’s dome, was selected to transform the 26-metre canvas. Mesh Direct’s in-house design team reworked the piece of art, preparing it to be printed on premium building wrap Banner Mesh.  Mesh Direct and Museums Victoria worked closely together to ensure the artwork was coherent across all aspects of the project. Mesh Direct ensured that the colour saturation and quality of the image were as perfect as possible.

Once the artwork was completed and approved, Mesh Direct moved their attention to advising how best to install the building wrap. The unique shape of the building and the wrap meant a good installation was key to ensure artwork properly aligned. Zips helped ensure the artwork spanned across the whole area seamlessly and pockets were fixed to firmly secure the artwork in place.

The project went with flying colours thanks to the experience and expertise of Mesh Direct.

The result is a stunning success. Bronwen Sewell, Communications & Stakeholder Advisor for the Royal Exhibition Building said Mesh Direct were: “Unbelievably helpful and responsive, the Mesh Direct team understood the importance of ‘getting it right’ for this Melbourne icon. I honestly never thought it was possible to create something so extraordinary over scaffolding.”

It’s not too late to catch a glimpse of the Sylph of Spring if you’re in Melbourne. The artwork will be displayed on the side of the building until the end of the year. It’s one not to miss, or you can see a time-lapse video of the installation above.

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Council of Australasian Museum Directors, c/o Ms Daryl Karp, Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House PO Box 3934 Manuka, Australian Capital Territory 2603 Australia, © CAMD 2020
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