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DULUX TRADE Paint Protecting A National Icon

Since the first gate was originally commissioned in 1979, the City Gate murals in Exeter have provided a striking welcome to the city. Their creator, foremost mural artist, Andrew Stacey, is currently restoring his high profile artwork to mark the listing of the murals by the 20th Century Society, the organisation which safeguards the heritage of architecture and design in Britain.

To refresh his paintings in time for the new listing, Andrew has once again turned to Dulux Trade to help perfect and protect his public work. Having originally used Dulux Trade Weathershield Smooth Masonry Paint when he created the artwork thirty years ago, Andrew has decided to use the same system, as well as the Dulux Trade Weathershield Exterior Gloss System, to revive the images.

At 60’ by 20’, the large outdoor murals are an unmistakable welcome to the city from the south and the west. Given their exposed public position, it was crucial for Andrew to use materials which would help to sustain the painting and provide resistance from the weather and road pollution.

Chosen for their excellent performance, the Dulux Trade products will protect the surface of the murals from algae and fungal growths and importantly, provide Andrew with consistency in colour.

“When it came to selecting which products to use this time around, I decided that using the Dulux Trade paints again offered the potential of the murals lasting for another fifteen to twenty years – that means they’ll be around for another generation to enjoy. The extensive colour range has allowed me to create the subtle hues that the mural needs,” explained Andrew.

A celebration of the ‘Festival of Fools’, the West Gate depicts various aspects of the city’s past, present and future, and includes local characters and events. The South Gate, named the ‘Festival of Architecture’, was created in 1984 to join the West Gate and marks the 150th anniversary of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB). This particular mural is dedicated to building and architecture, as well as painting and decorating, and presents a playful debate between destruction and reconstruction.

Andrew continued: “I’m very proud of the longevity of the murals and how popular they have become since they were originally created over twenty years ago. For a paint to protect the murals so well for over twenty years is truly remarkable, especially considering the numerous things they would be subjected to, such as algae growth and traffic fumes.”

Rachel Toolan, Weathershield Brand Manager for Dulux Trade, commented: “We strive to develop products which will provide an enduring professional finish. The longevity of the murals in Exeter is testament to the high standard and extraordinary performance we have achieved with our Weathershield range.

“We have worked alongside Andrew to provide guidance and technical support throughout the restoration and we very much look forward to seeing the results.”

The murals have become a popular icon for the local area and have been featured in the Penguin Book of Street Murals, as well as the front cover of Creative Review. The restoration was completed in July 2010 and was officially unveiled in a ceremony by Exeter City Council in August 2010.

Email: james.green@akzonobel.com


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