Im­i­tat­ing Art

Arius Tech­nol­ogy plays a key role in cre­at­ing re­pro­duc­tions of land­mark paint­ings that are dead ringers for the orig­i­nals

BC Business Magazine - - Celebrating 45 Years - —M.G.

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

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