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Restoration of Spanish Sculptor Jaume Plensas Echo at Madison Square Park Conservancy, NYC

On April, 27th of 2011 we received a call from the celebrated Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa. Since his first exhibition in 1980, Jaume has been showing his art off all around the world including numerous museums and galleries in Europe, USA and Japan. His sculptural work has gone through several stages in his career starting with recuperation materials such as iron, bronze and copper; transitioning to melting materials such as synthetic resin, glass, alabaster and plastic. Jaume explained to us that he has been working on a piece he calls Echo for the Madison Square Park Conservancy. Echo depicts a nine-year old girl from Plensa’s Barcelona neighborhood, lost in a state of thoughts and dreams. Echo, the largest monolithic structure in the Conservancy, stands at 40’ tall and has a white marble dusted surface.

The sculpture was created in Barcelona and shipped over to NYC. When Echo arrived, Jaume discovered a slight pink discoloration on the white marble surface that occurred in transit. Jaume needed this problem to be fixed immediately to prepare for the debut only a few days later. He requested that this structure be abrasive blasted with 40 grit carborundum (white aluminum oxide) to remove the discoloration. We had a proposal out within a few hours and agreed to meet him at the base of Echo at noon the very next day.

Containment would be expensive and time consuming and the equipment would be difficult to bring in and out of the city so we decided to us our Farrow 650 max slurry blasting equipment. The dust from blasting is suppressed by the water slurry created within the equipment so the only containment required was to line the ground with tarps to collect the abrasive from the blasting. Under the direction of Jaume and in front of a crowd of over 500 spectators we used a man lift to blast the discoloration off of the surface of sculpture. Midway through the blast it began to rain, but this was no problem for the slurry blasting operation. We were able to continue to work using nothing more than umbrellas to shield the rain. A little over 24 hours from the time Jaume first contacted us we were demobilizing the job site and Echo was good as new, ready to be debuted on schedule.

Echo in Madison Square Park. Photo: James Ewing/Madison Square Park

Project Details

Equipment Used:

  • Farrowmax 650 Slurry Blaster

Material Used:

  • 40 grit carborundum (white aluminum oxide)
Dave Scaturro
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