Hélène Degand, an industrial heritage expert, visited the Mécanique Générale in the week before LUMA days to provide further insight into the history of the Parc des Ateliers. She spoke with Brynjar Sigurðarson to discuss the details of the approximately 20 pieces of sandstone that are currently being used in the Designing Future Stone project. Before her visit, it was clear that the stones, which likely came from a mine near Beaucaire, had been present on site for many years. “You can’t be sure that they’re not Roman,” Degand said, referring to the fact that before Parc des Ateliers was an SNCF industrial rail yard, it was the site of an ancient necropolis. Degand provided an example of a thorough qualitative analysis of one stone, graphically indicating the presence of various impacts, manipulations and engravings.
Designing Future Stone is a mutually beneficial project. As a community of local stone carvers, restoration specialists, archaeologists and historians share their expertise with the project designers, the designers in turn provide access to emerging digital technologies. Utilizing these technologies, such as 3D scanning and precise automation, is becoming increasingly necessary for certain aspects of antiquities work. This process of exchange creates a link between traditional and novel practices, and a place of departure for developing future applications for the 561 stones that are present on the LUMA Arles site.