The Palace of Versailles is undergoing a major interior and external renovation that won’t be complete until spring 2015. But you might not know it to look at it. French artist Pierre Delavie and the fashion house Dior have teamed up to create an enormous trompe l’oeil canvas that stretches across the facade, masking the restoration of the roofs of the Pavillon Dufour and the Vieille Aile. The project is a continuation of collaborations between Versailles and Dior that date back to 1947. The magnificent canvas creates the illusion of three dimensions, featuring stunning photographs of women wearing Dior’s past and current designs as though they are relaxing on a veranda.
The artwork was produced by BS2i, a large-format digital printing company located in Honfleur, France. It was printed on a 5m-width PVC membrane supplied by Obeikan, a Saudi Arabian manufacturer of PVC and polyester products. PVC was chosen for its durability, and several 5m widths had to be assembled together because the image was so large. It was hot air-welded using a technique that allows the welded pieces of material to be stretched over a metallic frame to create a smooth, perfect image. The joints are almost invisible. A varnish was applied to the “tunnel” portion of the installation to protect the images from graffiti.