Helicopter transport of sculptures in an Art Foundation in Provence

27 May 2023
Héliportage de sculptures dans une fondation d’art en Provence

Handling by helicopter of several works of art in an art foundation in Vaucluse, Provence

Our Bovis Fine Art Paris and Bovis Fine Art Marseille agencies recently collaborated on an impressive helicopter transport of works of art in Vaucluse.

The relocated sculptures are composed of limestone and solid wood spheres. The elements of this contemporary sculpture were installed in nature in the 1970s. With the growth of vegetation, the sculpture is now immersed in a dense pine forest on a hillside, making it very difficult to access.

Given these access constraints, the operation required extensive preparation to ensure that everything went smoothly.

A technical visit on-site to plan the best handling methodology

We started by assigning one of our supervisors, a specialist in this type of complex handling, to conduct a technical visit.

Once on-site, our supervisor was able to assess the access difficulties, leading him to consider helicopter transport for handling these sculptures.

This technical visit was also an opportunity to confirm the dimensions of the works in order to plan custom packaging.

Custom packaging for each sculpture

The specialized carpentry of Bovis Fine Art created custom packaging for each sculpture.

For this type of artwork, the most suitable packaging is reinforced pallets. Both very strong and cost-effective, they allow optimal packaging of the sculptures and, most importantly, perfect support for the works thanks to the addition of cleats.

Our carpenters designed each reinforced pallet specifically to the measurements of each sculpture.

The intervention of specialized restorers

One last step was necessary before scheduling the helicopter transport and the transport of the works: the preparation of the sculptures.

A team of restorers specializing in contemporary sculptures worked on-site for a week to free each work from its concrete mass, firmly rooted in the Provençal hill. They also reinforced the most fragile works to ensure that they suffered no damage during handling.

During this phase of the project, our packers also began preparing the rigging of the sculptures so that the helicopter transport could be as quick as possible.

Helicopter transport of the works

On the day of the helicopter transport, we positioned two teams on-site, one at the departure point of the works, in the hill, and the other at the arrival zone of the sculptures, near our vehicles.

Once on-site, the helicopter pilot landed the aircraft to have a final preparation meeting with our handling team. This meeting is an opportunity to establish the communication system between the helicopter pilot and the ground teams. It is essential to have perfect coordination for the helicopter transport to proceed quickly and without incident.

In total, the helicopter made five rotations between the departure site of the works and the unloading zone. Thanks to a perfect operation preparation, the handling of the works by helicopter took only about half an hour.

At the unloading zone, once the works were positioned on their pallets, our packers installed various wooden support cleats. They then handled each packaged work using pallet jacks, up to the liftgate of our Artworks truck.

Héliportage de sculptures dans une fondation d’art en Provence
Héliportage de sculptures dans une fondation d’art en Provence