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The Great Pagoda at Kew Gardens comes roaring back to life

05 November 2018

When the Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) in the UK began its undertaking to restore The Great Pagoda, Kew, it faced some monumental challenges. Yet by bringing the technologies and expertise of 3D Systems On Demand Manufacturing to this project, this effort was made manageable and efficient.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kew Gardens is home to The Great Pagoda, a 163ft structure commissioned in 1761 and built in ornate and highly fashionable Chinoiserie style. 

In the years following the pagoda’s unveiling, it drew crowds of tourists who came to marvel at its exotic and eye-catching details. Central to all conversations were the 80 painted wooden dragons that adorned the octagonal corners of each successive level.

The talk of the town for more than twenty years, the Kew dragons were removed in the 1780s to accommodate roof repairs to the pagoda and were never replaced. Although rumors allege the dragons served as payment for royal gambling debts, experts believe the wood had simply rotted over time. An often revisited topic for conservationists, The Great Pagoda is finally being returned to its former splendor, dragons and all, for the first time in over 200 years. As part of a restoration project undertaken by HRP and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, this batch of dragons is designed to stand the test of time with special reinforcement by modern technology. 

Read the full article in the November issue of DPA

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