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Renamed in February 1997, First Peterhof Restoration Studios (formerly Restavrator) is headed by its General Director Galina A. Agalina. The mid-nineties was the hardest time for the company. Between 1991 and 1996, the government did not spend a penny on restoration; the beautiful palaces and parks were completely neglected. To keep its uniquely skilled artists on staff, the company had to find them jobs renovating offices and posh apartments. The first major landmark revitalized under Galina Agalina’s supervision was the Gothic Chapel in the Alexandria Park, where FPRS artists performed wood carving, carpentry, stucco molding and gilding work. The studio’s artists built the entire gilded iconostasis. Having researched historical photographic evidence and archives, the artists restored a unique bronze chandelier in the chapel. The chandelier was gold-plated using the electroforming process. They also restored the sculptures of the 12 Apostles and Virgin Mary with the infant along the building’s faзades. The next project – the fountains of the Voronikhin Colonnade – was completed in 1998. The bronze bowls on the tops of the easterly and westerly suites of the colonnade were gold-plated; and the marble and granite pediments of the fountains were restored. The roofs were fully refurbished. The metallic window fillers were made from corrosion-proof zinc-plated metal. Water is supposed to fall continuously like a screen down the easterly and westerly sides of the colonnade, and into the marble bowls. In 2000, FPRS artists restored the marble bench, currently installed in front of the Lion Cascade. To this end, they had to find the right matches for four types of original Italian marble. Research took a long time. The problem is that marble of this kind hardly exists anymore. The studios have recently been appointed general contractor for two major projects. One is Olga’s Pavilion, which was completely ruined in WWII. Its four surviving bare walls had stood unattended until last year. The Pavilion is located on the island in the middle of Olga’s Pond in Peterhof, surrounded by water. Restoration had to start from scratch. First of all, the building was fully water-proofed; its foundation and walls were reinforced. Basement facing is currently in progress. The building is beautifully decorated with frescoes; its faзade is adorned with four molded bas reliefs with elegant copper water jets pouring water from the roof. The roof of the building is terraced. The porches, pergolas and observation decks will be reconstructed later. There are also a summer theater and a boat landing in the park nearby. The work is now in full swing: the project is slated for completion by next May. The second major project now in the works is the church of the Grand Palace in Peterhof, originally built under the tutelage of the great Italian architect Rastrelli. Having been frozen for 50 years, restoration work on the church resumed in September 2001. The decorations and the copper domes will be installed and gold-plated by next May. This church originally had five domes, but only one has survived. The artists are currently restoring the four missing domes, the roof, and the main dome. The missing copper domes and the pedestals for all the five of them were manufactured by a subcontractor, Grand Iron. This project is on the list of priorities for the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg. The work of First Peterhof Restoration Studios is truly unique as every restoration project has to be designed individually. FPRS is famed far and wide for its quality. Peterhof gilders have earned international acclaim as some of the best in the field. FPRS is currently working on an exchange program to facilitate expertise-sharing between St. Petersburg’s and West European restoration artists. Last year, a group of gilders from Germany visited their counterparts in Peterhof. This August, the studios hosted interns from France, who manufactured a plaster model for the wooden vases to be installed on top of the arbors by the Adam & Eve Fountains in the Lower Park. The scope of restoration work has been increasing like a snowball with every passing year. To keep up with the growing amount of work, FPRS has had to enlarge its staff fourfold over the past five years, from 25 to 100, but the core team consists of celebrated masters with 25 to 30-year track records in restoration. Staff training is a major challenge facing the studios. The gilders have trained five apprentices in the past two years. There are 18 gilders and 4 apprentices working at the studios at the moment. «Bringing back the past, we live in the present. A successful day today ensures tomorrow’s success,» reckons General Director Agalina, who has made this the motto of First Peterhof Restoration Studios. FPRS services: l Gold-plating of metal and wood; l Stonemasonry and carving on marble, granite and lime; l Carpentry; l Stucco molding; l Non-ferrous metal forging and casting; l Applied arts and crafts: decorative lighting fixtures and metalwork (door and window hinges, handles, etc.). First Peterhof Restoration Studios 3 Kalininskaya ul., Novy Peterhof Tel. (812) 427-9864 Fax: (812) 427-9444
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