Arius Technology plays a key role in creating reproductions of landmark paintings that are dead ringers for the originals
In late February at the Permanent, a venue hall in a restored 1907 downtown Vancouver bank, black-and-white-clad servers manoeuvre trays of short-rib mini burgers among groups of people gathered around paintings. They're familiar works, including Irises by Vincent van Gogh, A Stormy Sea by Claude Monet and the curiously ugly Woman With an Umbrella by Edgar Degas. The evening feels like the opening of a gallery exhibit, but small signs on the frames of the artworks tell a different story: “Please touch the paintings.”
If you do touch them, you can feel the surface textures of the artist's brushstrokes. It's not paint, though; it's Uv-cured polymer ink. The event marks the Vancouver launch of Verus Art, a partnership between local startup Arius Technology Inc., U.s.-based custom framemaker Larson-juhl and Océ-technologies B.V., a Dutch division of Canon Inc. that focuses on digital printing. The paintings are 3D-printed reproductions of works owned by the National Gallery of Canada, whose director, Marc Mayer, enn-thusiastically joineded forces with Verus in late 2015.
The precision of the scanning andnd printing technologygy could cause a “para-radigm shift” in the wayay art masterpieces arere shared, preserveded and appre ciated,d, he says. The origi-ginal masterpieceses
are often kept in storage; now the printed versions can be taken to remote schools as part of the gallery's outreach program.
Mayer signed a licensing agreement with Verus allowing Arius to set up its laser scanning system in the gallery's conservation labs. The system uses a robotic device developed by Arius that moves the scanner over the surface of the painting, taking about five hours to create a digital file. Once the image is digitized, Arius can correct damage due to oxidization, creating colours that are closer to those the artist originally chose.
“The beautiful thing from a technology perspective is that we can measure the surface of a painting down to 10 microns, which is about one-10th of a human hair,” says Paul Lindahl, co-founder and CEO of Arius. “The synergy with Océ is they can print down to the same level of resolution.”
The National Gallery's reproductions are sold on Verus Art's website for between $650 and $6,650, and at Art Works Gallery in Vancouver.
Verus has also struck a licensing deal with the Mauritshuis in the Hague, home to a noted trove of 17thcentury Dutch paintings. Products of that partnership include copies of Paul Vermeer's Girl With a Pearl Earring and Carel Fabritius's The Goldfinch.
with “passive house,” a building standard that is only now gaining traction in B.C. Although neither is a new idea, combining them allows swift construction of highly energy-efficient homes.
Unlike traditional construction firms, Britco preassembles its buildings offsite, in a climate-controlled factory. “The benefits are higher quality control, greater speed and greater accuracy,” says Craig Mitchell, director of innovative solutions. On average, modular construction is 30 per cent faster, Mitchell adds; projects typically produce less than five per cent waste, versus up to 30 per cent on a construction site.
Passive house, an international certification that originated in Germany in the late 1980s, requires meeting a series of metrics based on features such as building-envelope airtightness and energy gain from sunlight. The resulting structures use up to 90 per cent less energy for heating and cooling than their conventional counterparts, according to Victoria-based nonprofit Passive House Canada.
Switching to passive could have a major environmental impact, given that buildings consume as much as 40 per cent of the world's energy and produce up to 30 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. Beyond the environmental benefits, passive houses have excellent indoor air quality and maintain a pleasant temperature in all seasons.
Passive makes a good fit with modular because meeting the standard is easier in a factory than on a job site, Mitchell explains. So far, Britco has completed two modular/passive projects. The first was a six-unit townhome development in Bella Bella that the company delivered to client Vancouver Coastal Health in just seven months, despite the remote location. The average passive house in Vancouver takes two years to build, Mitchell estimates.
In March, Britco was bidding on a 50-unit passive house project in Fort St. John for BC Housing. Although passive can deliver big savings on heating in a northern B.C. climate, the case is less compelling on the South Coast, where energy costs are relatively low, Mitchell says. But as he points out, the City of Vancouver is pushing passive as the new standard for rezoning applications. As for modular alone, Mitchell says large building industry players are looking to Britco to help speed up construction in a busy market. “Getting projects built within a shorter time period and turned over to the owner faster is an attraction, and that's why we're seeing a lot more pickup in the areas of affordable housing and multifamily developments.”
SMART HOUSE Britco built this energysaving modular/passive townhome development in Bella Bella
DOUBLE TAKE A 3D print of a painting by Claude Monet features raised brushstrokes