CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, has developed three unusual artist-in-residence programs that encourage the exchange of creative ideas between artists and scientists. It is hoped that the ground-breaking program, and the technology that explores the fundamental secrets of the universe can be a new force for human creativity.
Artists of all disciplines work as artists in residence at the laboratory, where they can both be inspired by the science and inspire the scientists to make new discoveries. While protons collide in the machinery at unimaginable speeds and perhaps reveal some of the secrets of the universe, the artists and scientists “collide” in ways that may help make some of these secrets more understandable to the human imagination. With this initiative, the chasm between the arts and the sciences may finally be bridged.
The laboratory, located in Geneva, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centers for scientific research in the world.
The first residency program, called Collide @ CERN, was launched in 2011, and combines a maintenance grant and prize money for the selected artist. The program “collides” the imaginations of artists with the minds of scientists to create new work.
The arts at CERN comes under the auspices of CERN’s Cultural Policy for Engaging with the Arts, Great Arts for Great Science. The program is the leading art and science program that promotes a dialogue between artists and particle physics. It stimulates the creation of new expert knowledge in the arts through a connection with fundamental science. COLLIDE gives artists the opportunity to encounter the multi-dimensional world of particle physics.
Artists can apply online for the three-month residency and stipend of €10,000 that comes with the chance to be mentored by the CERN scientists and given a unique opportunity to experience the cutting edge of physics from the inside.
By forming partnerships with leading international arts organisations, CERN is allowing the “collision” to happen. Bill Fontana is the artist in residence, and the project’s creative patrons include Swiss architect Jacques Herzog, German photographer Andreas Gursky, British sculptor Antony Gormley, British musician Brian Eno, Dutch wildlife artist Frans Lanting and Japanese artist Mariko Mori.
The COLLIDE International Award started as Prix Ars Electronica Collide @ CERN, in a three-year partnership (2011-2014) with Ars Electronica. It was funded by private sponsors, with the prize money supported by our cultural partner at the time, Ars Electronica, Linz. In 2015, the partnership carried on for one more year with COLLIDE Ars Electronica Award. As of 2016 the COLLIDE International Award is part of The COLLIDE CERN FACT Framework Partnership 2016-2018, in collaboration with FACT, The Foundation for Arts and Creative Technology in Liverpool, UK.
CERN’s second art program ACCELERATE, is the country-specific, one-month artists residency award. This award is for artists who have never spent time in a science laboratory before, and is the sister of CERN’s flagship residency programme, COLLIDE.
Every year, the ministries or foundations, from two different countries, fund a different artistic domain to participate in the ACCELERATE Awards. The winners receive a stipend of 5,000 CHF for their one-month residency at CERN, and a budget covers accommodation, subsistence and travel costs. The awards are made following open calls in each country, and the jury is made up of the cultural partners as well as representatives from Arts at CERN, including scientists from CERN.
The 2016 awards were
ACCELERATE Lithuania In collaboration with Rupert, and
ACCELERATE UAE – Supported by The Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, ADMAF.
The 2017 awards are
ACCELERATE Croatia Award In collaboration with Kontejner, and
ACCELERATE Korea Award In collaboration with ARKO
CERN’s third residency program is Guest Artists. Initiated in 2016, artists with an extensive internationally recognized career, are invited to visit CERN for a short period, to learn about what the laboratory offers to arts and creativity, from an interdisciplinary approach.
James Brindle was awarded Honorary Mention of Collide International in 2016. He is a British writer, artist, publisher and technologist, currently based in Athens. His work covers the intersection of literature, culture and the network. His current research, on the impact of information technologies into knowledge, brought him to CERN.
Tomás Saraceno was the first Guest Artist of the year. His work is an ongoing research, informed by the worlds of art, architecture, natural sciences, astrophysics and engineering. During the past decade, he has initiated collaborations with scientific institutions that have included the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Max Planck Institute, the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, and institutions of the Exhibition Road Cultural Group, among them Imperial College and the Natural History Museum London. He came to CERN to discuss ideas in cosmology and particle physics with scientists.
Pascal Dusapin, from France is interested in a diverse variety of fields, from morphogenesis to philosophy, from photography, to architecture, to the theatre of Samuel Beckett, to Flaubert’s work, among others. The French musician and composer Pascal Dusapin will be visiting CERN on 21-22 November for deep exploration in high energy physics.
More information about the CERN program is available from
Here is our selection of this year’s 18 best Corporate Art Programs around the world.
From an analysis of the 700+ programs described in the latest edition of the 2017 International Directory of Corporate Art Collections . . .
Our 2017 selection is based on how the corporate art program is managed – how the art is being exhibited and featured, if it is accessible for viewing, are there education programs for employees and how active is the participation. In other words, is the art program part of the fabric of the company’s mission and has the art become part of the employee’s lives.
There are over 700 art programs that are described in the International Directory of Corporate Art Collections, and many include works of works of unparalleled rarity or importance in the history of art …… But often these are installed in private museums or viewing areas. The collection may be a source of pride and prestige for the company, but it does little to affect the people working in the company and their environment, and has virtually no impact on the workplace or community. Our selection is based on the way the art programs have been integrated and the art is viewed.
Because in the final analysis, that is the purpose of fine art – to be seen and appreciated — not just held as an investment, hidden away in board rooms and blocked from being viewed except by a handful of people. Art is a global language that builds bridges between people, and stimulates creative and critical thinking. It awakens the imagination and intellect, and allows employees to better communicate with each other with new insights and ideas. It goes beyond the pictorial, and truly challenges the mind.
So our list of the 18 Best are those art programs that have been supporting the creation and appreciation of art in the workplace and in the community – whether it is regional, national or worldwide. The companies selected have successfully accomplished this goal. They have made art a part of the lives of those that work there, as well as those that visit the company and through its integration into and support of the surrounding community.
Some of the criteria that have been considered in our selection are the following:
Employees: can employees relate to the collection and are they learning about the art through educational programs.
Accessibility: is the collection accessible for viewing by visitors and the public through tours or self-guided visits
Publications: are there published catalogues or information on line about what is in the collection.
Loans and Exhibitions: are the artworks available for loans to one-man or museum exhibitions, or does the company organize exhibitions from their collection for tour
Community: are there community education programs, artist-in-residence programs, or support for the arts projects, for example in conservation, art competition awards, regional exhibitions, museum sponsorships, etc.
Consistency: is there a consistent integrated philosophy behind the collection or is the management subject to changes in the economy or business interests
So here are our picks for the 18 Best Corporate Art Programs Around the World in alphabetical order
ABSA, South Africa
One of South Africa’s largest financial institutions, ABSA is an amalgamation of four financial institutions that took place in the early 1990s. Today, Absa is a highly reputed financial institution on the African continent, whose parent company is Barclays PLC. The Absa art collection is extensive, consisting of just under 20,000 artworks. The majority of the collection is South African,with artworks dating back to the early 1900s, and it provides a narrative of the evolution of the visual arts in South Africa from the turn of the last century until today. In some cases there may be up to 40 works by key artists. The majority are displayed in offices and reception areas, and there is an art gallery in the head office.
When Absa Towers North was built in 1999, the major artworks were commissioned at the same time, and this architect/artist collaboration ensured the successfully integrated visual impact. Two merit award prizes are also offered; a two-month residency on the island of Sylt, the northernmost island in Germany, and a one-month residency in New York through the Ampersand Foundation. Through the Absa Gallery, exhibitions are given to artists and young curators trying to make their careers and build their reputations in the visual arts. They are invited to curate a show in the Absa Gallery. For the past 28 years, Absa has been sponsoring the Absa L’Atelier Art Competition in partnership with the South African National Association for the Visual Arts. The competition is open to young and emerging artists aged 21 through to 35. The prize includes a cash component, a three- to six-month residency in a studio apartment in the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, and a solo exhibition in the Absa Gallery.
AXA, France – Germany
A French-owned insurance company, AXA operates around the world. Its art program has three elements: collecting; conserving and working with museums. AXA has contributed €48.3 million over the last nine years to safeguarding French heritage, and has enriched public collections with numerous masterpieces. Conservation has been a recurring theme in the company’s activities worldwide.
There art collection in Germany, AXA Konzern AG, was initiated in the mid-1980s and now consists of some 3,200 works by more than 1,200 artists working in a wide range of media and the artworks are displayed throughout the company’s buildings. AXA supports many exhibitions and art fairs including Art Basel Miami in 2006, and the company has an active conference and cultural event program for its employees.
Over 4,000 examples of Mexican art and artifacts from colonial to the present. All media are represented including buildings, folk art and furniture. As the oldest private bank in Mexico, Banamex is part of the worldwide Citibank financial network, but the art collection is administered by the Fomento Cultural Banamex, a non-profit affiliate founded in 1971 to purchase and exhibit art, and promote and protect the artistic heritage of Mexico.
Banamex has preserved several historically important colonial buildings – Casas de Cultura Banamex – such as the Palace of Iturbide, the Casa del Diezmo in Morelia, the palace of the count of the Suchil Valley in Durango, the Casa de Montejo in Mérida, and the home of the Majorat of Cane in San Miguel de Allende. The Palace of Iturbide houses temporary exhibitions and a permanent museum and also has a library, educational workshops, consultation, and video and multimedia rooms.
Banamex has concentrated efforts in the rescue of Mexico’s folk art through programs that encourage and strengthen practices. The folk art collection includes work by 2,500 Mexican artisans from each of Mexico’s 31 states, with 21 indigenous cultures represented. The program provides support for artisans and collects, preserves and promotes folk art. Activities also includes the recovery of the original design, and on urban improvement – comprising the remodeling of facades, as well as educational programs and outreach.
Banco Santander, Spain
The Fundación Banco Santander is a private institution with a cultural commitment that forms part of the policy of corporate social responsibility of the Santander Bank. Among its projects, the Foundation manages, conserves and promotes Santander’s art collection, organises exhibitions and lectures, supports educational programs related to the arts, and contributes to the heritage of the world through its activities with museums and cultural institutions.
The art covers centuries, with works by El Greco, Van Dyck, Tintoretto, Rusiñol, Miro, Picasso, Chillida and Serra among others. . The company recently moved its headquarters, with some 8,000 staff, to Santander City near Madrid and included a 3,000-square-metre art gallery in its design. There is a website and a book about the collection, and it is represented on Google’s online Art Project.
La Caixa, Spain
One of the leading art programs in the world, La Caixa Foundation is based in the bank’s headquarters in Barcelona. The large institution sponsors a great variety of programs and its activities contribute to the heritage of Spain.
La Caixa Foundation has different collections; among them are two public ones and the rest of the collections are internal — In total there are around 9,500 works of art.
The Art at Work program has several collections formed throughout the last 100 years. These works hang in the offices and workplaces of the staff. Plans include a joint venture with MACBA, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona, which will lead to joint projects between a private collection and a public one. The resulting educational activities will reinforce the existing work of La Caixa Foundation.
The company has created the concept of cultural centers in architecturally important buildings, including a converted 1912 factory in Barcelona and a purpose-built Caixa Forum in Madrid. There are Caixa Forums in Lleida, Tarragona and Girona, with plans for more.
Clifford Chance, United Kingdom
Clifford Chance activities are modeled on museum practices, and an associated program promotes and supports the printmaking community. There is a dedicated art intranet site for the staff, with in-house lectures and exhibitions, exhibition guided tours, ten-minute discussions and ‘Meet the Artist’ sessions offered to the 700-plus members of its Art Club. The firm sponsors local community art organizations, such as PhotoVoice and Autograph, as well as running postgraduate printmaking and sculpture awards, and it welcomes artists-in-residence.
Deutsche Bank, Germany
Started more than 30 years ago, the art collection of 56,000 works by around 5,000 artists, concentrates on the medium of paper including photography.. Deutsche Bank’s Group Head Office in Frankfurt houses works by more than 120 young artists from all continents, and nearly 90 per cent of all the works in the collection are on view in more than 900 Deutsche Bank locations worldwide and in exhibitions or on loan to 28 museums. 600 masterworks are on permanent loan to the Städel Museum. Exhibitions have toured Europe, the US and South America The current focus of collecting is on emerging artists from all over the world, with an emphasis on South America, Africa and Asia.
To promote young artists the Deutsche Bank and its Foundations have initiated several art prizes.The Artist of the Year award, which was founded in 2010, is devoted entirely to introducing the public to an engagement with new art. Employees of Deutsche Bank are offered a wide range of programs, including selecting work for their environment and taking part in tours and talks about the collection. There is a comprehensive website and a variety of catalogues of the collection.
Itau Unibanco, Bazil
This Brazilian bank is among the 10 largest financial institutions in the world. In 1987 it founded the Itaú Cultural Institute, an independent non-profit organization devoted to the development of emerging Brazilian artists. The Institute is also responsible for managing the art collection of 12,000 works that begin chronologically, with the first documents and iconography from the Portuguese colonial era of the 16th century. These works make up the Brasiliana Collection. Many of the works are located in the company’s headquarters and can be viewed in the general public areas and in temporary exhibitions.
Since the collection makes a significant contribution to the history of Brazilian art up to the present day, the ongoing plan for the future is to acquire works that will fill in gaps in the collection. Staff is involved through an intranet and guided tours, and works are loaned to museums, some of which have sponsorship. The Rumos Project organises community-education programs. There are three books on the art programs and a website.
Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Italy
It is believed the collection started in 1481 when Benvenuto di Giovanni del Guasta was commissioned to paint Our Lady of Mercy, making it the oldest corporate art program, and certainly one of the best examples of a contribution to the heritage of Sienese art.
The Bank’s art program rests on a magnificent collection of over 27,600 works of art including paintings, drawings, lithographs, sculpture and fine furniture, dating from the 14th century to the 20th century. In addition there are a further 1,851 works belonging to the Chigi Saracini Collection which is also owned by the bank and displayed in Chigiana Music Academy.
The core of the collection constitutes Sienese works from the 14th to the 17th century. In the 20th century, the bank has continued the spirit of patronage and the resulting works are located in offices in Siena and the rest of Italy. Through its acquisition of other banks the company has broadened the collection The collection is extensively catalogued and guided tours are offered to the museum and other works can be viewed by appointment. Given the importance of the collection, the company has organized and supported many important exhibitions and loans to museums.
J P Morgan Chase, United States
The JPMorgan Chase art program oversees more than 30,000 objects in 450 corporate offices around the globe. Modern and contemporary painting, sculpture, works on paper and photography continue to be the collection’s strength.
The collection has grown through the merger of several different corporate collections that included Chemical Bank, The First National Bank of Chicago and Chase Manhattan Bank, among others. Perhaps the most renowned part of the collection has its roots in the former collection of the Chase Manhattan Bank established by David Rockefeller in 1959. By integrating artwork with the architecture of new buildings and incorporating an enlightened approach to acquisitions, this forerunner of the modern corporate collection became a model for other companies, particularly in North America.
The JPMorgan Chase has an active museum loan program, originates traveling exhibitions, provides educational programming for internal and external audiences and supports the company’s worldwide philanthropic and sponsorship activities. The bank believes that arts and culture are the lifeblood of vibrant communities, so the wide range of programs and events foster creativity, provide access to the arts to under-served audiences, promote self-expression and celebrate diversity.
Samsung, South Korea
Certainly one of the most impressive in the world, Samsung’s dynamic art program has created the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art; the Ho-Am Art Museum; and PLATEAU; as well as many other cultural and artistic activities, and academic research.The mission of the Samsung Foundation of Culture, established in 1965, is to preserve and promote the achievements of traditional Korean arts, while supporting emerging and established artists in all media and enriching the country’s cultural landscape.
The Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art opened in 2004 and is the only art institution in Korea where visitors can appreciate works of art ranging from Korean traditional art to international contemporary art – all in one location. It consists of two buildings designed by Mario Botta and Jean Nouvel, along with the innovative Samsung Child Education and Culture Center designed by Rem Koolhaas, which architecturally reinterpret traditional art and international art and compose a multifunction art space. The diversified educational programs include lectures, family workshops, teachers’ programs and tours. The Ho Am Art Museum opened in April 1982, and this private museum was founded as the permanent home for traditional Korean works of art collected over about three decades. Formerly known as the Rodin Gallery, the PLATEAU, has become one of the central institutions in the Korean contemporary art scene.
Saxo Bank, Denmark
One of Saxo Bank’s core values is ‘Pride’ – pride in one’s job, one’s accomplishments and one’s employer. The bank’s investment in and commitment to innovative architecture, design and visual arts have been central to this goal. As a natural extension of this, Saxo Bank has created a working environment that is welcoming and inspiring. After completing its impressive and award-winning design by 3XN architects, in 2008, Saxo Bank began assembling a striking new collection of art that has become one of the largest and most significant corporate art collections in Denmark. The architecture of its head office in Copenhagen takes Saxo Bank’s cutting-edge profile as its point of departure. In its impressive central atrium, visitors can see several floors of artworks, readily visible from different angles in the immense space.
The Bank has a tradition of sponsorship activities and supports initiatives in arts and literature. In addition to publishing special editions of books that have had a profound cultural influence, Saxo Bank also sponsors innovative artistic projects that stimulate discussion as well as entertain. Saxo Bank believes that art – including fine art, music, literature etc – is the barometer of a culture and that it makes it possible for all individuals to reach their personal goals. Through a comprehensive website, the artworks in the bank’s head office in Copenhagen can be viewed as a virtual visit.
Société Générale, France
The art program began in 1995 when the company moved its 13,000 employees into a new headquarters in La Défense, Paris. It has collected over 1,000 works — 350 paintings, sculptures and photographs, with the remainder being limited-edition original prints. The focus of the collection is artworks by both emerging and established artists.
The company has an active art program for employees that includes an art club with about 600 members, and regular exhibitions with curators, conferences, art days, and educational activities plus a staff photography competition. The art program also features an excellent website, a catalogue of the collection and a significant budget for additions to the collection. Société Générale art program has an emphasis on working with young and older children and students. . The collection is open to all young people with creative documentation and games for the youngest ones to discover contemporary art.
The Seiji Togo, Yasuda Kaisai Museum of Art, forerunner of the present Seiji Togo Memorial Sompo Japan Museum of Art, opened in 1976 when the company included the purpose-built museum on the 42nd floor of its new headquarters in Shinjuku,Tokyo. The museum has developed many exhibitions and educational programs for the staff and children, and the museum is open to the public. Loans are made to other museums and the Foundation also sponsors and provides a number of awards. There are a series of catalogues, an excellent website, and a book about the collection. Sompo Japan makes a major contribution to art heritage in Japan.
Telenor’s art collection features international and Nordic contemporary art, andr has been collecting works since 1998. In September 2002, Telenor ASA officially opened its new Fornebu headquarters, designed by architect Scott Wyatt. The company budgeted £3.55 million for artistic decoration, viewed as essential aspects of the new building. The complex has a unified design, while each block and building has its own distinguishing features. Some of the artists who were commissioned to create site-specific sculptures or artistic decorations included Daniel Burén, Jenny Holzer and Richard Wright.
Art, architecture and design are an integral part of Telenor’s work environment. Telenor creates its own cultural concepts and stages its own productions, bringing together musicians, artists and performers from all over the world. The Telenor Culture Programme has been acquiring a more international profile. In 2007, eighty-six concerts were organised. and Norway, Russia, Montenegro, Thailand, Hungary and Ukraine have all enjoyed concerts staged by the Culture Program. Since 1995, the Telenor International Culture Prize, has given awards for outstanding performances in music, film, literature, visual or performing arts..
Telkom, South Africa
A history of contemporary art in South Africa can’t escape the very politicized socio-economic conditions under which South Africans have lived. The Telkom Art Collection shows work by a range of artists representing different aspects of the spectrum in terms of personal circumstances and opportunities within the recent and local past. Part of Telkom’s business philosophy is a passion for the preservation of the country’s unique artistic heritage. The Art Collection promotes South African art in collaboration with partners in the arts that includes individual artists, academics, community based art organizations and industry bodies such as Business and Arts South Africa (BASA).
The art collection is displayed in Telkom buildings, and the gallery at the company’s headquarters in Pretoria showcases the artworks and other art-related projects. The collection also runs art education programmes for employees and their families. These include workshops on printmaking, paper recycling and making crafts from waste, as well as art therapy workshops, lunchtime talks and exhibitions. Since 2002, hundreds of Telkom shareholders, employees and their children have explored and experienced different art forms at hands-on art workshops. In addition to sponsoring exhibitions,Telkom was also involved in Artists in Conversation, where previously untold stories about South Africa’s artistic heritage have been brought to light through the oral history project. In addition to work by contemporary artists, the collection also includes work by three special areas, unique to South Africa:
USIKO artworks: Rural-based artists were commissioned to re-create indigenous beadwork from over 150 years ago.
Proudly African Ceramics: Ardmore ceramics, started in 1985 and showing the integration of traditional cultural skills with the advantages of Western technology, has led to the development of a unique art form.
Bead Art: Czech glass beads were imported and a 1.8m x 1.2m replica of the South African national flag was created by 12 skilled traditional bead workers. brought in from the Zulu homelands. Using 438,000 beads, the flag is one of the largest beaded items made in South Africa.
UBS has a rich history of actively collecting art and supporting artistic endeavours around the world, focusing on promotion, collection and educational activities in contemporary art. The bank’s impressive art collection of over 35,000 objects includes thousands of contemporary works by some of the newest emerging talents as well as some of the most important artists of the last 50 years.The comprehensive art program includes a global partnership with the Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation, launched in April 2012, and long-standing commitments to the international art fairs Art Basel, Art Basel Miami Beach and Art Basel Hong Kong.
The UBS Arts Forum enhances the experience of contemporary art with internationally recognised authorities from all fields of the contemporary art scene, such as artists, institutions and markets. Some of the topics covered have been The Art of Collecting; Changing China: New Perspectives on Contemporary Art; Art Houses, Art Structures, Art Institution; Global Players: Stakeholders in the Art World
Through its Culture Foundation, UBS promotes the advancement of cultural activities and artistic creativity, communication and exchange between artists and society, and the diversity of cultural expression. The Foundation supports Swiss artists, foreign artists with permanent residence in Switzerland, cultural projects by professionals that focus on Switzerland as well as the acquisition of significant works by art or cultural-historical museums in Switzerland.
As a result of the merger of several Italian banks and the addition of Bank Austria and Germany’s HVB, the art program of UniCredit, encompassing a selection of over 60,000 works of art, is noted for its commitment to culture over time, with art that spans from ancient artefacts to works by Old Masters and modern masters. In 2004 the emphasis of the art program evolved to focus on contemporary art. UniCredit’s excellent exhibition program has been developed to include artists from many countries in Eastern Europe (Russia, Austria, Poland, Turkey and Germany). The evolving website features a virtual tour, and numerous catalogues have been published. Many artworks can be seen by the public through tours and displays in public areas of the bank’s premises. The art program’s community activities include working with art fairs such as Artissima. There are several UniCredit programs. ‘Art at work’, displaying the artworks in the main branches and offices of the group. UniCredit is committed to supporting the cultural and artistic expressions of the territories in which it operates
Further information about these art programs is available in the latest edition of the International Directory of Corporate Art Collections.. You can order it now at a 30% discount by clicking here
Figuring prominently in the entry lobby of the former Citroen Garage in Lyon is a colorful and impressive steel sculpture of a Stegosaurus, known as Gustave. This beautifully engineered and balanced work of recycled car parts was the result of an unusual series of collaborations in France’s second city, Lyon.
How did this adventure begin?
According to an interview with the sculptor, during the fall of 2014 he was approached to do an artist residency at the Lycee Fernand Forest. The project was to create a structure for the festival “Urban Foods” scheduled for May 2015, and to be in Saint Priest a small municipality to the south of Lyon.
Lycees, are a rough equivalent of American high schools, and the teachers at the lycee became interested in the project and support grew for the idea When the town of Saint Priest saw the plans and site, they agreed to finance the materials.
Gustave weighs 1600 kg, is 8 meters long and 4 meters high, and uses 140 meters of steel tube. Made up of different pieces of car bodies and parts. Ultimately, 50 students learning metalworking, and supervised by 5 teachers worked for several months on the project.
The recycled parts came from a collaboration with Carrosserie Gambetta, located in Fontaines sur Saone. They were enthusiastic about the project and many car doors and hoods, truck doors were assembled. Lardanchet, also had in his stock, 24 Yamaha motorcycle bumpers that were placed on side of the dinosaur’s backbone. Finally, while browsing in the school, he proposed using the work that students made for their BAC pro the year before, which were then destined for scrap. These were turned into the row of plates on Gustave’s back.
Why did Lardanchet choose a stegosaurus? According to the sculptor, “the stegosaurus is probably one of the best known of the dinosaurs, and its silhouette is easily recognizable. It was a friendly, peaceful dinosaur, but sufficiently well equipped and impressive to not be bothered without good reason.”
After travels to several sites in Lyon, the impressive Gustave is now located in the entry lobby of the building formerly known as the Citroen Garage.
The Citroen Garage is a superb example of Art Deco functionalist architecture. Built between 1930 – 1932 by Maurice-Jacques Ravazé, architect of Citroën SA. it is similar to the work done for the large American factories of the time. Of the 20 branches built by André Citroën throughout France, this one on Marseille Street in Lyon is the most monumental. With its 535 meter facade, important corner turrets, and the 6 levels connected by one-way ramps, it is a superb example of the period’s functionalist architecture.
The renovation and redesign of the Citroen building was one of the important architectural projects unveiled in France during 2015. Listed as a historical monument since 1992, this “concrete and glass ship” was completely renovated beginning in 2011.
Andre Gustave Citroen, an early pioneer in the automobile industry, directed the building of this immense structure — 130 meters long and 52 meters wide, containing 6000 square meters of windows and having a surface area of 500 m2 on 5 floors.
Designed by Maurice Jacques Ravaze, who directed Citroen’s architectural design department from 1923 to 1934, it was known as the largest “service station” in the world. The reinforced concrete support pillars face the Rue Marseille and the Rue de l’Universite in Lyon’s 7th district. Two immense rows of windows showed the latest models of the Citroen brand.
In 2011 Peugeot-Citroen sponsored a competition for plans to renovate and rework the immense space. Sud Architectes of Lyon, and Cecile Remond, the architect responsible for French historical monuments, took over the project and acquired the building, becoming the owner of the larger part of the ground floor, and the floors were redesigned for use as offices. Alep Architects and Sud Architectes managed the project. The project maintained the Citroen dealership on the ground floor.
From then on, the project became known as the “New Deal” retaining the creativity and original designs of Maurice-Jacques Ravaze, Jean Prouve and Andre Citroen.
A complex project it required an investment of 33 million euros, the assistance of 22 bureaux d’etudes, the collaboration of the Conservation Regionale des Monuments Historiques, des Services Territoriaux e l’Architecture et du Patrimoine (STAP), the intervention of 8 architects (3 architects from Buildings of France), constant oversight on the construction site of 6 engineers and the “know how” of 250 people.