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Walkable Scenographic Art Using Bayer Polyurethanes

Published on 2002-07-23. Author : SpecialChem

Leverkusen/Caen- As winners of a competition sponsored by the city of Caen, France, the agency Zen+dCo was selected to design the scenography for two new exhibition areas, "Le monde à l'heure de la guerre froide" (The World in the Cold War Period) and "Des mondes pour la paix" (Worlds for Peace), at the Caen Memorial. Founded by Zette Cazalas, this agency has more than 15 years of experience with scenography and museography.

The building client wanted the architecture to be oriented on the scenographic design. "The 3,000 m2 building that contains the museographic exhibition areas for the Cold War and Peace themes needed to be designed and built around the scenography," said Jesus Pacheco, project manager and architect at Zen+dCo.

In "The World in the Cold War Period", visitors are confronted with a multitude of impressive images spread over 800 m2 of exhibition space: images of atomic weapons tests projected on a 360° screen using new technology; suspended segments of the Berlin Wall that appear to float in space; normal, everyday objects from the Cold War period that appear to "pour" out of a Trabant (representing the East Bloc) and a Lincoln (representing the West) hanging inverted 7 m above the floor; a Russian MiG 21 on which visitors walk and the warhead of a missile from the former strategic missile site in Albion, France, which symbolize the weapons of destruction.

The polyurethane floor, itself a work of art composed of glowing splotches of color, serves as a sort of echo to the disastrous Berlin Wall, decorated with thousands of fragments of color, as if it wanted to attest to the drabness and gloom of this period. With the floor, "we wanted to create a gradual transition from shadow to light, thus following the museographic crescendo of the confrontation between the two ideological blocs up to the fall of the Berlin Wall, which in our scenography is flying away," explains Zette Cazalas. The entry to the exhibition space has dark splotches with only a few scattered bits of red; as the splotches gradually increase in size, yellow tones and then increasingly lively colors become visible.

The floor reflects this progression: gray on gray, interspersed with increasingly larger and more vibrant colors leading up to the grand finale, a veritable explosion of joy (the fall of the Wall).

Zen+dCo chose a seamless curtain coating polyurethane floor coating from Boulenger, Paris, France. It is based on Desmodur®/Desmophen® polyurethane raw materials from Bayer AG, Leverkusen, Germany. This floor coating can be formulated in a broad spectrum of colors. At 4 mm thick, it is suitable for all interior spaces needing a unique, colorful look.

Room for improvisation on site was allowed with respect to the colors, the only restriction being that the splotches had to be a predefined size as the colors were formulated in advance. Customers have been walking on this work of art since the museum opened in April, 2002. The polyurethane coating was applied by Zette Cazalas and Jesus Pacheco.

Zen+dCo had previously laid a polyurethane curtain coating floor in Chartres, France. The wish to combine color effects with elastic materials was the decisive factor for the choice of this material for the Caen Memorial. The random combinations of colors impart an intentionally plastic effect to the completely flat, seamless surface.

This modern material also provides improved acoustic attenuation compared to conventional floor coatings and maintains its elasticity so that it is comfortable to walk on.

Additional information can also be found at: http://www.bayercoatings.com

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