Sustainability from a Private Practice Perspective

Invited Speaker

Philippe de Viviés
Director, A-CORROS Expertise Arles, France

The conservation and restoration of cultural heritage was one of the great challenges of the second half of the 20th century. Under the influence of the Minister of Culture, André Malraux, during the 1960s, France established the structures and resources necessary to create an inventory of its heritage, and subsequently implement its assessment, restoration and promotion to the general public. For many years, all of these operations were carried out by state services. But by the end of the 20th century and especially over the last 20 years, the state has gradually decreased its involvement in the majority of these operations – conservation-restoration among others – by subcontracting them to private structures or to individuals.

The company, A-CORROS, based in Arles in the south of France was created in 2007 by Jean-Bernard Memet, PhD in material science specialising in marine corrosion, and Philippe de Viviès, conservator-restorer of cultural heritage. A-CORROS is both a consulting firm providing corrosion expertise and anti-corrosion solutions and a conservation-restoration laboratory for cultural property, principally metal.  To date, it is the largest private laboratory for the conservation-restoration of metal objects in France. Eleven staff members are engaged in conservation-restoration of archaeological, historical and liturgical objects and sculptures, in corrosion diagnosis of historical monuments, industrial heritage and civil engineering, as well as in research and development.

Creating a private structure for the conservation-restoration of heritage is easy, but sustaining it in the current economic context is more difficult… This presentation will be based on the tricks of the trade employed by the company’s two founders: adaptability, innovation, curiosity, flexibility and mutualisation. We will share how, thanks to this plurality of skills, the company has developed and been consolidated by relying on both its industrial and patrimonial expertise.