In February, Véronique Barlay, logistics expert for fine arts at Global Expo Services, told us about the 2017 exhibition “Révélations” , the international exhibition for fine craft and creation taking place in Paris every two years. She spoke about the challenges for Global Expo Services when they had to transport a statue of well-known French artist Kriki to Le Grand Palais. The set-up of the 5 metre statute which had to be assembled on-site as it was impossible to transport it in one piece, pushed the logistical boundaries but in the end, all went well.

To appreciate the difficulties of setting up very different and fragile pieces of artwork at Le Grand Palais, you have to know that it is a historical building. This means you have to work as per a special strict rule book.

For the 2019 show, which took place from 23-26 May, Véronique had very different challenges. She explains: “This year, we were given the opportunity to handle the stunning and priceless works of the “Mobilier National”, coming from the French museum of historical furniture. We handled the suspended masterpiece of the Norwegian textile artist Hanne Friis and we looked after the set-up of the Chilean pavilion and the beautiful stand of the Michelangelo Foundation.”

Le Grand Palais getting ready for the show

Shades of black and blue by Hanne Friis

Booth “Mobilier National”

Now that the show has ended, Véronique gives us her personal review of the event. “The show was a huge success,” she says. “There were 38.000 visitors in total and they were very enthusiastic about the exhibition and the exceptional and high-quality pieces.” 450 creators from 33 countries showed their masterpieces. ‘Révélations’ is the place where contemporary creation meets its market.

“’For Global Expo Services it is the ideal platform where our clients and future clients can see what we are capable of as the show demands such a high level of different expertise, from transport and insurance via logistics, set-up and dismantling.” Global Expo Services offers a wide range of services including temporary custom clearance, short-time delivery, uncrating, set-up of the exhibition stands and positioning of the pieces. “A staff of 25 people is making sure that all these requirements are fully met, so that our clients don’t have to worry about anything and can fully concentrate on running their stand,” Véronique says.

Global Expo Services staff delivering an order to start setting up the exhibition stands

Global Expo Services staff uncrating at Révélations exhibition

Of course, Global Expo Services not only handles the set-up but also the dismantling operations. After the end of ‘Révélation’ the additional difficulty was that everything had to be done really fast, another obligation of Le Grand Palais. The staff had just four hours to dismantle and box all the artworks.

Asked about the key of managing such complex operations, Véronique explains: “We carefully look at the needs of each client. Nobody has the same requirements, every transport is different. We bring our expertise to each of our clients, plan and anticipate as much as possible. And we are prepared for the unplanned. I’d say that’s the key to a good exhibition,” Véronique concludes with a smile.