Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, most of our work involves customisation. Options include:-

  • Materials: hardwood, aluminium, steel, Krion.
  • Glass: thickness, strength, anti-reflectance coating, low iron content, transmittance.
  • Sensors: temperature, humidity, light, proximity, air quality, vibration.
  • Activation: presence, push button, timer-driven.
  • Intranet: with or without 4G router, conservation data alarms.
  • Smart Vitrines: From €15,000 to €35,000 (ExWorks), depending on size, format and finish.
  • Smart Plinths: From €900 to €3500 (ExWorks), with optional lighting and analytics.

Art collectors and museums currently spend large sums of money trying to reduce damage on collections, e.g. :-

  • UV filters on large glass facades
  • Manual or motorised window blinds
  • Continuous artificial lighting on artworks (which implies a larger overall energy footprint)
  • Object rotation schemes, with the subsequent risk of breakage

ArtRatio proposes to replace the above ‘one-size-fits-all approach’ with protection for only the most fragile parts of your collection. In addition, ArtRatio vitrines can be tuned to the individual needs of each item.

We believe that when you compare costs, our products work out cheaper than the above solutions.

Yes, they can. In fact, we recommend housing the item in it’s ArtRatio vitrine at all times, since it has been designed and configured specifically for that object.

Whilst in its Artratio vitrine, you can be sure that the object will not be subjected to excessive light levels:

  • when on loan to museums
  • in temporary gallery exhibitions

The conservation data for your artwork can be securely viewed using our Intranet portal.

It can be done, but we do not recommend this, since the glass has mains voltage cables which need to be safely routed inside the vitrine (in order to comply with electrical safety – i.e. the EU Low Voltage Directive).

Our products also contain electronic controllers which need correct earthing and shielding, much like a fridge or washing machine. In our experience, it is safer, cheaper and better to build a new vitrine, designed specifically to accommodate these aspects.

  • Switching ON: in less than 1 second
  • Switching OFF : typically 1 to 7 seconds (depends on the surface area of the glass)

We offer various types of security:-

  • Security against glass breakage (accidental and malicious) since the smart glass is certified to BS EN 356 (P4A security).
  • “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” security, by hiding the object from view whenever the vitrine is opaque i.e. after-hours deterrent against theft.
  • IT security: the data we gather is completely anonymous so GDPR-compliant.
  • All access to the information is secured on the client’s local intranet (behind your own firewall).

Our name derives from the ‘Golden Ratio’ (or ‘Divine Proportion’) which is found:

  • in seashells, flowers, galaxies
  • in artworks by Da Vinci and Dali
  • in the great pyramids and the Parthenon!

ArtRatio vitrines measure artworks in terms of their condition (using conservation data) in order to derive numbers (including ratios, integrals and differentials) that can help us to maximise the market value of the artwork.

  • Royal Engineers Museum, Chatham (UK).
    • Original 1815 Waterloo Map, with pencil markings from the Duke of Wellington still on it.
  • Spanish Guitar Museum in Almeria (Spain). 
    • Torres Spanish guitar from 1888
  • National Museum of Sweden, Stockholm
    • 15th century Books of Hours, the oldest items in the Swedish national collection.
  • All our other installations are in private collections.

 

 

  • Yes, we agree, but then the pieces are not only open to accidental damage from people but also open to gradual deterioration from the elements (light, changes in temperature / humidity, air pollution, vibration, etc)
  • If the artwork has substantial market value and is sensitive, any museum would treat it with the utmost care and diligence. Our vitrines are aimed principally at those special unique pieces.

The lighting on the Ardabil Carpet at the V&A is controlled by timer with the result that there are queues to see the object when illuminated. This is not the case for other exhibits at the V&A.

The reason is simple: human curiosity.

If you choose to house one single object in one of our darkened vitrines, you can expect a similar result at your gallery.

  1. Yes, we can position a motion sensor at the entrance of the gallery if needed to trigger all the Artratio display cases at the same time when someone enters the room.
  2. In future, we will also be able to place each display case in a state where the glass is not switched off completely but rather in a semi-tinted state. 

This would allow visitors to see that there is an object on display, but still reduce light damage.

Yes, our vitrines block:

  • 99.5% of all radiation from 0 nm to 380 nm (which includes UV)
  • 99.5% of visible light (wavelengths from 380 nm to 760 nm)
  • 50% of infrared light (760 nm and upwards)

Conservation variables currently monitored by ArtRatio products include:- 

  • Temperature
  • Humidity 
  • Light 
  • Proximity

Additional information we derive:- 

  • Light Exposure (obtained by integrating the light intensity over time)
  • Popularity (obtained by accumulating the total time an artwork has been viewed)
  • In future, we will advise on an ‘Index of Risk’ (derived from the amplitude and frequency of fluctuations)

All data is time-stamped according to the timezone of the vitrine.

Infrared (IR) light is heat, so controlling IR controls the temperature within the vitrine, which affects the humidity, which affects the electrical conductivity of the air inside the vitrine, which affects the air quality (i.e. dust particles, static charge).

No, ArtRatio vitrines use SPD glass which stands for ‘Suspended Particle Devices’, patented by Research Frontiers Inc and marketed by VariGuard.

Plexiglass (also known as Acrylic or Perspex) is a lightweight plastic material, used as an alternative to glass.

Polycarbonate (PC) is a stronger plastic, also used as an alternative to glass.

The glass used in ArtRatio vitrines is a sandwich of 2 x 5mm thick tempered glass panes internally laminated with a 1.5mm thick polymer film containing the SPD substance (which changes its optical properties when activated electrically).

The glass is classified as Anti-Bandit to BS EN 356 (P4A security), which drops a 4 kg steel sphere of 10cm in diameter 3 times from a height of 9m.

We can also supply higher security standards (e.g. bullet-proof glass) upon request.

The glass contains a very thin internal polymer layer, sandwiched inside 2 panes of glass. The polymer molecules align themselves only when powered, thereby transmitting light.

When not powered, the molecules inside the polymer film distribute randomly and do not pass light.

Current transmittance levels vary from 49% to 65%. The light levels inside ArtRatio vitrines are close to 0 lux inside when the smart glass is OFF.

The glass we use is built for the aerospace, rail, marine, automotive and construction markets, so conforms to their standards in terms or longevity, stress tests and millions of switching cycles.

Typically the glass is built to last for decades since it is used in Mercedes, BMW and Audi cars as well as Airbus aircraft.

Aside: even if the glass were to fail, it would fail safe, since the object would simply be left in the dark.

Our spectral data shows a flat horizontal line, showing a uniform glass transmittance when switched ON. This proves that the glass, when powered, apportions no extra colouration to items placed beneath it. Please contact us to view this data.