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Mantova: l'Arte di Vivere: projects with Fondazione Palazzo Te
Mantova: l'Arte di Vivere: projects with Fondazione Palazzo Te

Factum Foundation and Fondazione Palazzo Te have partnered up to carry out a vast high-resolution digitisation project inside three rooms within Palazzo Te. The palace, built as a place of leisure for the Gonzaga family in the mid 16th century, was designed and frescoed by Giulio Pippi, better known as Giulio Romano.

From January 17 until February 7, a team of digitisation specialists from ARCHiVe and Factum Foundation recorded in high resolution the Chamber of the Giants, the Chamber of Cupid and Psyche and the Hall of the Horses. The data, acquired using LiDAR, photogrammetry and composite photography, will belong to Fondazione Palazzo Te and help with the documentation, preservation, study and dissemination of the rooms, also enabling future diverse and innovative exhibition projects.

For the exhibition 'Le pareti delle meraviglie' (26 March - 26 June, 2022) a recreation of the Leather wall covering with flower vases, recorded last January in high resolution inside the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, will be on display inside the Sala dei Venti.

And at the same time, the 3D team at Factum Arte are currently working on the production of five physical objects designed by the artist for the exhibition 'Giulio Romano. La forza delle cose' (8 October, 2022 - 8 January, 2023).

More on the projects

Recording in AlUla: successful completion of Phase 1

Factum Foundation and the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) are delighted to announce that the first phase of their collaboration is now complete. The largest high-resolution 3D recording project ever carried in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and initiated over a year ago, aims at producing a 3D model of the archaeological sites of Hegra (UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008), Dadan, Jabal Ikmah and Abu Ud.

The data from the recording is currently being processed and will be handed over to the Royal Commission for AlUla in the first months of 2022.

Watch a preview on Vimeo

20 years of work in Egypt
20 years of work in Egypt

By the end of this year, we will have succeeded in carrying out the largest high-resolution recording project ever undertaken. We have recorded the vast majority of the tomb of Seti I at a verifiable resolution of 100 microns (100 million measured spatial points per square meter). The painted relief carvings have also been documented using composite colour photography at 600 PPI at 1:1.

Factum hopes that this is just the beginning and that the Egyptian team running the Theban Necropolis Preservation Initiative will continue to record other tombs and sites in the area, with practical support and back up from Factum’s team in Madrid, and the political support of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. We are very grateful to everyone who has helped to make this happen.

Let there be light: AALTOSIILO updates
Let there be light: AALTOSIILO updates

No longer a building for storing woodchips, the Silo is now an extraordinary piece of sculpture. Since July, Valentino Tignanelli and the team in Finland have cleared, cleaned and secured the building after decades of neglect; the pigeons no longer rule the roost. The most recent step, before the snow and freezing weather halted building work until spring, has been the installation of electricity and lighting.

Through the preservation of this great building, the goal is to create a new approach to the recording and reuse of industrial heritage. After an extremely positive meeting with the Oulu planning department, Skene Catling de la Peña are currently developing the design of the new Research Centre, and working with engineers eHRW and other Finnish partners to define a protocol for recycling large pieces of demolition waste.

"The Aaltosiilo project ends its first operational year with the building and plot of land fully cleaned and cleared. Plus, now for the first time in 40 years, the inside is lightened up by a new electricity network and dozens of working lights.

2022 will see the Siilo renovated in depth, with sustainable practices and innovative solutions that will hopefully allow us to host the first events and shared discussions with the community about its future. Everybody in Oulu is looking forward to the revitalisation of this iconic landmark and the work will continue at a fast pace, among Northern lights in the sky and snow in the ground!"

- Valentino Tignanelli, Project manager for AALTOSIILO

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Angel heads from Max Klinger's <i>Beethoven</i> monument
Angel heads from Max Klinger's Beethoven monument

Symbolist artist Max Klinger first conceived his monument to Ludwig van Beethoven around 1885-86, when he was still a student in Paris. The idea is reported to have come to him "one fine evening at the piano". The final sculpture was unveiled at the exhibition of the Vienna Secession in 1902, in the same room where the Beethoven Frieze by Gustav Klimt was also on display.

The figure of Beethoven and the plinth was carved from several different types of stone, but the heads of the angels behind him are ivory. Due to their fragile preservation status, the Museum der Bildenden Künste in Leipzig reached out to Factum Foundation to create facsimiles of the heads and fit them in the original sculpture.

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New recording in the Museo de Santa Cruz, Toledo
New recording in the Museo de Santa Cruz, Toledo

Following conversations about the extraordinary painting of the Crucifixion of St Andrew with Dean Yoder, Conservator of Paintings at the Cleveland Museum of Art where the original hangs, a copy of the painting in the Museo de Santa Cruz in Toledo was also recorded in 3D and colour.

The painting in Toledo, in poor condition but of great interest, is one of three copied versions of the original and was digitised using the Lucida 3D Scanner and composite photography, over a period of four days starting on December 14.

More on the recording

BBC Radio 4: On the Elgin Marbles
BBC Radio 4: On the Elgin Marbles

On December 14, Factum Foundation’s founder Adam Lowe participated in an interview with archaeologist Gillian Hovell following Stephen Fry’s statement on the repatriation of the Elgin Marbles to Greece. Lowe insisted on the importance of rethinking sharing and access to cultural heritage through the use of digital technologies and rematerialisation techniques. In an era of digital materiality, where cultural artefacts can be made accessible online and offline, he stressed the need to properly digitise objects at the highest resolution possible, to then inform and shape decisions about where and how to display those objects. Lowe also mentioned the importance of launching an in-depth debate about ownership, access and repatriation, and in this case about reunification, as the Elgin Marbles are held in various museum collections across Europe.
Listen on BBC Radio 4 (2:55:25)

Recording El Greco in Cleveland
Recording El Greco in Cleveland

In November 2021 a team from Factum Foundation carried out the recording of the Crucifixion by El Greco within the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio. Both the surface data and accurate colour were acquired using the Lucida 3D Scanner and composite photography, as part of a collaboration with Case Western Reserve University. The project aims to document and analyse late paintings by El Greco and his studio, in order to establish the importance of recording the surface of paintings and reveal new information about the working practice of the artist’s studio through the use of machine learning algorithms.

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3D model of the Aalto Silo
3D model of the Aalto Silo

The AALTOSIILO team is delighted to announce that the 3D model of the Aalto Siilo has been completed in collaboration with the Arctic Drone Labs (at Oulu University of Applied Sciences). The scanning of the building and its plot was done using drone-based LiDAR and photogrammetry during the summer. The model will soon be updated to include the interior of the building (now cleaned of all the dead pigeons and 30 years of pigeon droppings). Electricity is being installed and all the waste and building rubble around the building has been removed.
The 3D model will serve as a record of the building prior to restoration. We are now in communication with local planners and heritage officials to understand their plans and vision for the future of the building and its role in the transformation of Toppila.

Go to AALTOSIILO website

Heritage Lab italgas: installation of a Replica Scanner in Turin
Heritage Lab italgas: installation of a Replica Scanner in Turin

Italgas, Italy's main gas provider founded in 1837, has partnered with ARCHiVe in a project to record and share online its historical archive: a multi-layered and complex collection of documents, pictures, historical papers and essays, scientific journals and texts. A custom Replica 360 Recto/Verso, a recording system developed by Factum Arte and Foundation, has been installed in a dedicated space within the Italgas headquarters in Turin.

This is very topical with COP26, about to be held in Glasgow on October 31 – November 12, 2021. Archives are essential and the archives at Italgas contain important historical, social, scientific and cultural evidence.

More about the project

Final stages of the recording in the tomb of Seti I
Final stages of the recording in the tomb of Seti I

A team from Factum Foundation is currently in Luxor during the final stages of the recording of the tomb of Seti I in the Valley of the Kings, carrying out composite photography recording.

Once the work is complete, our attention will focus on establishing Theban Necropolis Preservation Initiative (TNPI) as an autonomous and independent documentation, archiving and training centre. It is currently run as a collaboration between Factum Foundation, the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and the University of Basel. Its funding comes almost entirely from Factum but the aim is to demonstrate that this work can bring revenue for the Ministry while being self-supporting.

We wish to thank everyone who has worked on this project and made it possible. It is also the right moment to remember both Piers Wardle and Mohammed Ghaba who worked with Factum in the Valley of the Kings, but are no longer here to see this amazing work come to a conclusion.

Opening of the Spanish Gallery in Bishop Auckland
Opening of the Spanish Gallery in Bishop Auckland

Led by Jonathan Ruffer, the Auckland Project is working to regenerate large sections of the town of Bishop Auckland. Part of the redevelopment is the new Spanish Gallery, the first museum in the UK to be devoted to Spanish art, which opened on October 15, 2021.

Factum Foundation and Skene Catling de la Peña were commissioned to rethink the concept and role of a museum for the top floor. The result, ‘In the Blink of an Eye, Transience and Eternity in the Spanish Golden Age’, is a space filled with great objects, all with their own specific history, biography and meaning in their original location, but with the potential to unlock a profound understanding of Spanish art when put together in dialogue with each other. The original pieces were all chosen, digitally recorded using non-contact technologies and re-embodied as physical facsimiles to reveal some of the defining characteristics of this period of Spanish art and its context.
The outcome is a portal into Spanish Renaissance and early Baroque thinking and a collection of mutually beneficial collaborations that redefine sharing, connoisseurship and preservation.

Discover the exhibition

Grinling Gibbons' Crucifixion

A video of the 3D model of the Crucifixion by Grinling Gibbons was on display at Compton Verney for the exhibition Grinling Gibbons: Centuries in the Making (September 24, 2021 - January 30, 2022). The event was organised by the Grinling Gibbons Society to celebrate the artist's tercentenary this year.
The 3D team at Factum worked on merging the two processed datasets into a detailed and meaningful 3D model that can be seen in colour or as a shaded render. The work required genuine research, hundreds of hours of work, highly skilled data preparation and powerful computers.

More on this project

AOA ARCHiVe Online Academy 2021

As part of the Fondazione Cini’s 70th anniversary celebrations, a special lecture on September 27 (4:30-6:30 PM CET) was held by Adam Lowe, founder of Factum Foundation, and Frédéric Kaplan from EPFL, presenting the project to digitise the entire island of San Giorgio Maggiore started in 2020. Click here to watch.

The Giorgio Cini Foundation, within the ARCHiVe project, presents for 2021 an online training program of 30 lessons divided into 4 thematic areas and a special presentation dedicated to the digitisation of the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Foundation. More on AOA - ARCHiVe Online Academy

Recording the painted caves of Laas Geel
Recording the painted caves of Laas Geel

In collaboration with the Hargeysa Cultural Centre and the Redsea Cultural Foundation, a team from Factum Foundation travelled to Somaliland in July/August to carry out a skills and technology transfer while recording buildings, manuscripts and several sites containing Neolithic paintings.

The team carried out the high-resolution 3D documentation of the painted chambers at Laas Geel: a complex of 22 rock shelters containing some of the earliest known rock art in the region, dating back to an estimated 5,000 years and remarkably preserved. Despite the remarkable condition of the paintings in Laas Geel, both human and natural changes require condition monitoring, new documentation skills and proper infrastructure to preserve the integrity of the site. The Somaliland Government, through its Ministry of Tourism, and the Redsea Cultural Foundation are focussed on ensuring this happens.

In close collaboration with Dr. Jama Musse Jama, director of the Hargeysa Cultural Centre, Factum Foundation recorded seven individual caves using LiDAR, photogrammetry and panoramic composite photography. The complete 3D and colour datasets of Laas Geel, Dhagax Kure and Dhagax Marode were handed to the Hargeysa Cultural Centre, to ensure the high-resolution data stays in the country. It will be shared with the Somaliland authorities when it is fully processed.

More on the project

ARCHiVe and Divirod
ARCHiVe and Divirod

Research into new monitoring systems

Following a radio programme on the ARCHiVe project, discussing the digitisation of the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice (The World, September 2020), Factum Foundation was contacted by Divirod, a start-up from Boulder, Colorado. Divirod has developed a pasive radar sensor that uses satellites and locally recorded data to generate accurate hydrological models. The installation of the sensor in late August is part of ARCHiVe's work to document and study both cultural heritage and natural changes on and around the island.

As the sensor starts to log vast quantities of dynamic information, we will be working with the Cini Foundation to find new applications and develop tools that will help provide answers to practical needs.

The digitisation of the island of San Giorgio Maggiore will be featured in the 2021 edition of ARCHiVe Online Academy: an online training program of 30 free lessons divided into 4 thematic areas starting today, until December 20.
More information on how to access the free classes here.

More on the project

A New Publication: <i>The Aesthetics of Marble</i>
A New Publication: The Aesthetics of Marble

Coming Soon

The Aesthetics of Marble: From Late Antiquity to the Present, by Dario Gamboni, Gerhard Wolf and Jessica Richardson aims to shed new light on the celebration and uses of marble in art and literature and on the iconic potential of the stone.

Adam Lowe and Charlotte Skene Catling contributed with an essay titled ‘Articulate Stones in the Digital Age. Wrinkles, Scars, Blotches, Bruises, Fractures, Mutilations, Amputations, Dislocations and Restorations’.

If you want to know more about this publication or if you need a copy, please email:

The 15th International Alvar Aalto Symposium – Future of Industry

The 15th International Alvar Aalto Symposium – Future of Industry (August 12-13 2021), focussed on the current challenges of the spaces and milieus of the history, present and future manufacturing industry. Charlotte Skene Catling and Adam Lowe presented the AALTOSIILO as keynote speakers in this event organised by the Alvar Aalto Academy together with the City of Jyväskylä and several other partners. The 2-day programme included besides speeches and conversations, architectural excursions, exhibitions and various public events.

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