Govt surveys Hotel Estoril’s mural before moving it to new library’s atrium

2023-09-26 03:35     BY Tony Wong    Comment:0

The Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) says that it is surveying the current condition of the iconic mural on the derelict Hotel Estoril’s façade with the aim of coming up with a “rigorous” plan to relocate it to the atrium of the new central library to be constructed there in a way that ensures that it will remain intact during its relocation.

An IC statement on Sunday night underlined that the mosaic mural, which was erected over 60 years ago, is in a “relatively poor” condition as its structure is “fragile”, after long-time erosion by “wind and rain”.

Scaffolding was set up in front of the old Hotel Estoril’s mural around a fortnight ago.

The government decided in 2020 to redevelop the long-abandoned Hotel Estoril opposite Praça do Tap Seac into the city’s new central library. The government then invited four architectural design teams – from Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands and Switzerland – to submit concept designs for the project, after which the government announced in 2021 that it had chosen the concept design from the Netherlands’ Mecanoo team for the central library project.

Dutch concept design

The Dutch team’s concept design proposes to relocate the mosaic mural to the future library building’s atrium, while the other three teams all proposed to keep it on the future library’s façade.

The bureau said in 2021 that Mecanoo’s proposal to move the mosaic mural inside would better preserve the artwork.

The bureau said earlier this year that it was aiming to invite construction bids for the project next year. The government has still to come up with an exact schedule as to when the project will get off the ground.

The central library is currently housed in a listed building in Praça do Tap Seac, just across the square from the long-defunct Hotel Estoril.

Extensive damage

Sunday’s statement noted that in accordance with the new central library project’s construction design, the mosaic mural on the façade of the former hotel will be fully preserved and relocated to the interior of the future library building for better protection and display.

The statement said that the bureau is currently carrying out a careful examination and assessment of the mural’s condition with the aim of preparing and drawing up a rigorous plan to restore and relocate the mural. The statement noted that scaffolding has been set up for that purpose.

The mural has been extensively damaged on the top, left side and bottom, the statement said, adding that its remaining parts have numerous cracks.

According to the statement, the ongoing work is carefully examining and recording the current condition of the mosaic mural with the use of thermographic cameras as well as temperature and humidity sensors.

In addition, the statement said, the current work also includes sampling and analysis as well as mosaic separation tests with the aim of understanding the mural’s original raw materials as well as the adhesion condition between the mural’s covering and wall attachment.

The statement said that after drawing up the mural’s restoration and relocation plan, the bureau will move the mural to a “suitable” location where it will be cleaned and restored. In conjunction with the future construction of the new central library, the mural will be “integrated” into the new building’s interior space for proper preservation and display.

“This will enable the mural to better perform its function of connecting the building’s past and future,” the statement said.

The mural was created by local Italian architect and sculptor Oseo Acconci. Hotel Estoril, a development of casino magnate Stanley Ho Hung-sun’s gaming monopoly concession STDM, opened in 1963.

The two combination photos taken early this month and yesterday respectively show the derelict Hotel Estoril before and after the setting-up of scaffolding in front of the building’s mosaic mural. – Photos: Tony Wong

Click refresh authentication code