Lafarge exclusive sponsor of an exhibition on concrete at the Paris Arts et Metiers Museum

31 May 2006

Lafarge is the exclusive sponsor of the exhibition “Bétons: étonnez-vous” (“Concrete: prepare to be surprised”) opening on May 31 at the Paris Arts et Métiers museum. The exhibition, which looks at concrete from a historical, scientific and artistic perspective, aims to provide the general public with an insight into the many uses of this versatile material, the most heavily consumed product in the world after water.

The exhibition, organized into four sections, presents:

  • The history of concrete
  • The key stages of research into concrete, and areas for future research
  • The multiple aspects of concrete, illustrated by unusual objects made of concrete and practical demonstrations to show the material's strength and fluidity
  • The future of architecture in concrete, with the presentation of structures and projects marking major breakthroughs in the field of construction.

The exhibition highlights Ductal®, an ultra-high-performance concrete, which is six to eight times stronger than a conventional concrete, and opens up limitless scope for architectural creativity. This unique material is used for the exhibition floor, walls and model display tables.

As the world leader in building materials, Lafarge has always placed research and innovation at the heart of its strategy. Thanks to coordinated research into cement, aggregates and concretes at its Research Centre, the world's largest building materials research facility, Lafarge has launched a number of major innovations over the last ten years, such as the Agilia® range of self-placing and self-leveling concretes, and the ultra-high-performance concrete Ductal®. It is therefore logical that Lafarge should sponsor an exhibition aimed at providing the general public with an insight into the multiple uses and possibilities of concrete.

Lafarge's very substantial contribution to the exhibition includes scientific and historical input, facilitating contacts between the teams at the Conservatoire National des Arts & Métiers and concrete experts, and loans of exhibit pieces, models and demonstration equipment for the exhibition workshops. Paul Acker, Scientific Director of the Lafarge Research Centre and one of the world's leading experts on concrete, acted as scientific advisor throughout the preparation of the exhibition, alongside Bertrand Lemoine and Etienne Guyon.

Involvement in this exhibition follows on from a number of similar operations sponsored by the Group over the last two years: the Liquid Stone exhibition at the National Building Museum in Washington; the related architectural symposium at Princeton University on the future of architecture in concrete; and the Shanghai conference on Infrastructure and Urban Landscapes run with Tongji University, which led to a very instructive debate between Chinese and Western architects on the future of the world's mega-cities. These initiatives illustrate Lafarge's commitment to developing new building materials and promoting more sustainable construction methods, for the benefit of architects and the construction sector as a whole.

Lafarge has been committed to sustainable development for many years and is convinced that its commitment toward society should extend beyond the borders of its own industrial sites to cover the entire value creation chain of the construction industry, from suppliers to end customers. The Group works very closely with architects, engineers, developers and contractors to develop new products and construction methods that are ever more respectful of people and the environment.

Note to Editors:

Lafarge is the world leader in building materials, with top-ranking positions in all four of its businesses: Cement, Aggregates & Concrete, Roofing and Gypsum. With 80,000 employees in 76 countries, Lafarge posted sales of Euros 16 billion in 2005.
Lafarge has been committed to sustainable development for many years, pursuing a strategy that combines industrial know-how with performance, value creation, respect for employees and local cultures, environmental protection and the conservation of natural resources and energy. Lafarge is the only company in the construction materials sector to be listed in the 2006 ‘100 Global Most Sustainable Corporations in the World'. To make advances in building materials, Lafarge places the customer at the heart of its concerns. It offers the construction industry and the general public innovative solutions bringing greater safety, comfort and quality to their everyday surroundings.

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