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Serpentine Gallery's Impressive Pavilion Is Accessible To All Visitors

Thanks to the support of leading platform lift supplier, movemanSKG, wheelchair users and other less able visitors are able to enjoy a number of special events - film screenings, talks and readings being held in the Serpentine Gallery's 2003 Pavilion. The Leicester-based company, a subsidiary of lift and escalator giant, Otis, stepped in to supply and install one of its Companion Premier platform stair lifts at extremely short notice.

Available as either a fully or semi automatic unit, the Premier is an inclined platform lift, designed to help a wheelchair user where a short flight of stairs represents a significant barrier. It consists of a platform, which glides over the stairs on a wall mounted support track. When not in use, the platform folds up leaving the staircase virtually unobstructed for pedestrian use. The unit is CE marked and meets the requirements of the Machinery Directive and British Standard 5776, covering the use of powered stair lifts.

Julia Peyton-Jones, the Serpentine Gallery's Director, is proud of its commitment to accessibility. "We are very keen for all our activities to be accessible to the most diverse audiences." She says. "This includes a strong commitment to make it as easy as possible for disabled visitors to enjoy our Exhibition, Architecture and Education Programmes."

The Serpentine Gallery is situated in the heart of London's Kensington Gardens in a grade II listed Tea Pavilion. It attracts more than 400,000 visitors a year to its galleries, which display contemporary art and architecture. It is funded primarily through corporate sponsorship and the support of individuals and charitable organisations. It also receives funding from the Arts Council of England and Westminster City Council. Each year, the Serpentine commissions an international architect of world acclaim to design a Pavilion, which will be sited on its lawn throughout the summer.

"One of the key features of Oscar Niemeyer's design for the 2003 Pavilion is that the structure is on two different levels, a device characteristic of his architecture. The lift makes the auditorium, and therefore the building as a whole, fully accessible to anyone who finds stairs difficult to negotiate." Continues Julia.

Installing a traditional platform lift, as an alternative to the stairs was not practical, due to the limited space within the Pavilion. The Premier, therefore, proved to be the ideal solution. It doesn't take up valuable floor space and is extremely simple to install, requiring no civil or other foundation work. Premier is easy to use with simple 'hold to run' push buttons. The platform is accessed over mechanically linked ramps, which form wheel stops when the lift is in motion. Both models are fitted with a host of safety devices, which ensure its safe operation. The safety arms and ramps are interlocked to the drive mechanism, inhibiting movement if they are not in the correct position. A safety plate fitted to the base of the platform stops the lift if there is an obstruction on the stairs.

Julia Peyton-Jones concludes. "As one of the leading suppliers in the field, movemanSKG's support has been crucial in enabling the Serpentine to provide access to all its visitors."

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