The initial global grant (2003-2005) was given to the Vitra Design Museum and focused on the study of the material qualities and life expectancy of design objects made of plastic.
The extensive use of various types of plastic by artists and designers in the 20th century has thrown up many problems for the conservation of plastic objects in museums and private collections. Experience has shown that objects made of plastics degrade more rapidly than those of traditional materials and, when some types of plastic material are in the process of degrading, chemicals are released that can damage other items in their immediate vicinity.
For this reason AXA ART and the Vitra Design Museum instigated a joint project to learn how to conserve plastic items. Owners of plastic artefacts are advised to protect them from exposure to direct sunlight and store them in open conditions in well-ventilated rooms at a constant temperature. They should be regularly checked for signs of degradation and handled carefully as over time they can become fragile and brittle.
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