For the first time, the Lafarge Group, world leader in building materials, has invited architects to design and produce its stand for Batimat, the international building exhibition, which runs from November 3 to 8, 2003 in Paris. It has selected Beckmann and N'Thépé, winners of an Albums de la Jeune Architecture award.
Lafarge has opted for an original approach and an innovative use of its products to present its role as a driving force in the evolution of the construction industry and its commitment to sustainable development.
Lafarge was captivated by the project dreamed up by this pair of young architects, who have designed “a stand portraying Lafarge, combining clarity, simplicity, efficiency and warmth.”
An innovative project to convey Group values
For Lafarge, as world leader in building materials, innovation is a fundamental value. Innovation characterizes the highly modern and original stand conceived by young architects Françoise N'thépé and Aldric Beckmann.
“Designing a stand with an industrial operator such as Lafarge is a moment of intensely focused creation which culminates in a single temporary space which will strike the visitor and vehicle the image and strong values of the company,” said the architects. “The project also gives us the opportunity to work with different materials and to create architecture in which sound, images and light play a part.”
The space which they have created for the Lafarge Group at Batimat will be “ample and generous,” “a space to breathe and an instant of poetry in the midst of a bustling trade show.”
Lights, space and Lafarge materials welcome visitors
The Lafarge stand, conceived to be easily understood by the visitor, takes the form of a white parallelepiped with graceful contours. Covering a floor area of 525 m2 and 5 meters tall, it displays full, ample forms, like a sculpture. It is entirely clad with PLAtec plasterboard, which has been randomly perforated to create patterns of light. As the visitor approaches, screens display Lafarge's key messages for Batimat: its commitment to sustainable development and its role as a driving force in the evolution of the construction industry.
Inside, Françoise N'Thépé and Aldric Beckmann have dreamed up a décor combining warmth and human contact. Peripheral zones are reserved for four of the Group's Business Units (Cement, Concrete, Aggregates and Roofing). Their materials are applied over surfaces 5 meters tall.
The central zone is dedicated to welcoming visitors. There is also a mezzanine floor, which houses a restaurant area and individual reception areas for customers.
Architects as key players in the evolution of the construction industry
Working in this way with a team of architects again demonstrates the natural link existing between the leader in building materials and construction industry specifiers. The choice of this design by Françoise N'Thépé and Aldric Beckmann has also given Lafarge an opportunity to encourage young professionals. The Group has for many years partnered and supported architects in numerous initiatives, including collaboration with the Institut Français d'Architecture, the Direction de l'Architecture, the AFAA and the International Union of Architects (UIA). Lafarge also set up Creargos.com in 2001, a website dedicated to architects.
A detailed Lafarge press kit for Batimat will be available at the exhibition. Focusing on the central themes of industry changes and sustainable development, the kit will present the products and services of the Group's French Business Units.
World leader in building materials, Lafarge employs 77,000 people in 75 countries. The Group holds top-ranking positions in all four of its Divisions: Cement, Aggregates & Concrete, Roofing and Gypsum. In 2002, Lafarge recorded sales of _14.6 billion.