Working as an art technician in museums and art galleries we all know crates and packaging are often thrown out, only to be remade in a months time as storage of empty cases is always difficult with limited allocated space within institutions and offsite storage is often expensive. Wooden art and artefact crates can often be poorly made, with handles in the wrong places for effective lifting, or no feet for lifting with a forklift, and can be made of flimsy, cheap wood. Cardboard and plastics when used for art packaging are often intended for single use only and so can’t be reused so thrown out immediately after use.
Well never fear ROKBOX are here and have come up with a revolutionary packaging system that not only protects the artworks in a more safe and secure way, and have made the handling easier and simpler than ever before but is also combating the huge waste of art packaging within the art handling industry. You can find out more at our event Behind the Art with ROKBOX on Wednesday 28th November 2018 – you can get your tickets from https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/behind-t ... 2344806726
Below you will find the story behind the creation of the ROKBOX and how this new art case is going to revolutionise the storage and movement of art and artefacts!
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE: ROKBOX is an innovative, highly engineered, reusable crate designed for the safe transportation and storage of artworks that will revolutionise shipping and storage habits. A Limited Launch of the first two sizes of ROKBOX will commence in early 2019 in UK, USA and Europe. International general release will follow later on in 2019. ROKBOX will be manufactured in the UK.
“Across my career I have been irritated by two observations. First, I have had the misfortune to see some spectacular artworks damaged beyond repair in avoidable circumstances, like getting wet in rain storms because a wooden crate was left out on the airport tarmac or million dollar insurance payouts because of the wrong sized screws used. Secondly, I have seen endless expensive packaging materials thrown away because they could only be used once, or they were not considered worth storing. I founded ROKBOX to improve artwork safety, make packaging more economic and efficient and importantly, reduce waste.” Andrew Stramentov, CEO and Founder of ROKBOX.
After years of frustration, ROKBOX founder Andrew Stramentov began a programme of research to establish what goes wrong when artwork packaging fails and how it could be improved. Andrew drew on the experiences of a broad network of art world professionals, from artists, collectors, auctioneers and gallerists to conservators, fine art insurers, technicians and registrars. Everyone had horror stories of damaged artworks from which to learn. All agreed that something had to be done to reduce the environmentally unfriendly dependence on non-recyclable foams, single use plastics and the culture of destroying crates. Andrew met Anthony Fraser, a packaging specialist and a design brief was created and presented to award-winning Yorkshire based Glenelg Product Design. Now 4 years, 100+ design iterations, weeks of third party benchmark testing, 3 prototypes and 2 fundraising rounds later, ROKBOX is market ready.
By applying technology and design to artwork packaging, ROKBOX will lead the way in versatile, affordable, reusable crates. Users of ROKBOX will save money in three ways. Fewer crates will need to be commissioned, because ROKBOX can be easily reused, less additional packaging material will be required and time will be saved.
The environmental benefits echo the economic. Fewer crates to dispose and less packaging being used. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle are well known as global waste reduction objectives. Successful Initiatives with tangible impact include the plastic bag charge introduced in the UK in 2015 which incentivised reuse by imposing a penalty for disposable bag use. The response has seen a significant increase in the use of reusable bags. This year the Environmental Audit Committee is tackling the issue of disposable coffee cups in the same manner, with a view to reducing the number the UK throw away. The material choices and design of ROKBOX are borne of the same suitability for reuse principle, being durable for long life as well as majority recyclable at the end of lifespan.
ROKBOX, by contrast to traditional wooden artwork crates, is made from waterproof, inert materials and is 40% lighter than a similar size ‘museum crate’, with no compromise to the safety of the artworks. It requires no specialist tools and can be repurposed immediately for different artworks. ROKBOX is incredibly versatile and dramatically reduces the use of skilled technician time doing repetitive tasks. ROKBOX is designed for reuse and does not require any additional packaging in its interior, so its use will dramatically reduce environmental waste.
ROKBOX crates are modular and offered in a range of standard sizes, with the flexibility internally to store any size or shape of two dimensional artwork that will fit within a given sized crate. The really clever piece of design, patented by ROKBOX, is in the crate interior; a ‘Floating Panel’ is suspended in deep foamed silicone within the frame, which cushions the panel in all axes from shock, vibration and impact, whilst maximising internal space. The genesis of the Floating Panel came from a research paper written by The National Gallery in Washington1, in which the safest way of transporting flat artworks is described as fixing them to a rigid backing board. This stablises the stretcher or frame against distortion and is an excellent technique for reducing the damage or stress caused by shock, vibration and drop. Previously, wooden crates have achieved this with deep layers of foam but via extensive testing, ROKBOX has been able to tune the depth and density of the silicone to achieve greater shock absorbency with much less material and wasted space. Unique and patented ROKBOX hardware can accommodate most existing hanging fittings to enable an artwork to be secured to the Floating Panel.
Further technical ROKBOX information:
To illustrate the leap from existing high specification packaging to the ROKBOX system, the vast majority of current artwork crates are constructed of wood and ‘museum quality’ crates contain a second inner pack, commonly a ‘travel frame’, nestled inside a deep foam lining. Artworks are fitted into the inner pack, wrapped in sheet polyethylene, placed into the foam lined outer crate and a plywood lid is then secured. All these crates are made-to-order and reconfiguring them for diﬀerent artworks is diﬃcult and time-consuming. The wood is often painted or varnished to protect against moisture, so cannot be recycled and ends up in landfill. Packing and unpacking is slow, with many opportunities for human error. Power tools can slip, screw-holes generate debris and wear out, screws or bolts can come loose and damage artworks (a common cause of Insurance claims). The biggest issue however is the universal use of wood, a flawed material (2) , which can also release resins and absorb moisture.
The ROKBOX lid panel is secured by aluminium toggle latches, like those seen on tool boxes. ROKBOX’s simple tool-free design, is in sharp contrast to existing industry crates that rely on dozens of screws, inside and out. This extends to the ROKBOX method for securing artworks, which has three simple elements. A flat stainless steel ‘Mount’ fixed to the rear of the artwork frame or stretcher, a detachable flat, stainless steel ‘Arm’, which locks into the Mount and projects from the artwork, ‘T-Clamps’ mounted in an ergonomic handle, which goes through apertures in the Arm, to lock into recessed grooves in the Aluminium back panel. The locking system allows flat artworks, of any size or shape, to be secured anywhere on the back panel, including multiple smaller works in a ‘salon’ style.
1 Mervin Richard, Marion F. Mecklenburg, Ross M. Merrill (editors), ART IN TRANSIT Handbook for Packing and Transporting Paintings, (National Gallery of Art Washington, 1991), pp.24.
2. Mervin Richard, Marion F. Mecklenburg, Ross M. Merrill (editors), ART IN TRANSIT Handbook for Packing and Transporting Paintings, (National Gallery of Art Washington, 1991), pp.124.
Final ROKBOX prototype, 2018 © ROKBOX, 2018
Photo: Will Amlott
For further information please contact:
Katy Wellesley Wesleykaty@rok-box.com