Placing art at the core of the Lesaffre Campus
Lesaffre has had a longstanding desire to include more art within its workspaces. As a result, the idea to bring art onto the Lesaffre Campus was met with enthusiasm right from the start. Two sculptures were installed on the Campus, following discussions with employees, members of the Comex, and the Board of Directors.
The Selection Committee for the work installed on the Campus decided to focus on regional artists, and finally chose two artists from the Nord department, Bénédicte Dubart and Manon Thirriot.
The selection process
While the piece by Bénédicte Dubart was installed on the Lesaffre Campus in spring 2023, Manon Thirriot’s work, Symbiose, was unveiled for the inauguration of the Campus, in October 2022. This creation was chosen by the Selection Committee, which was won over by the artist’s research across the Group’s different fields of application. In her work, Manon Thirriot has represented Lesaffre in a round sculpture reminiscent of a petri dish and championing the colors of its Swallow logo.
Art as an expression of life
Initiated as the “start of a momentum,” the installation of these creations at Lesaffre shows how art can be an expression of life. As highlighted by Corinne Wallaert, Communications and Foreign Affairs Director, creativity reflects “what is happening in the world today, [and remains] a way for artists to connect”. Corinne Wallaert also insists on the collective dimension of this experience, in which each member of the Selection Committee was able to express their specific sensibilities. As part of this approach, particular attention was paid to the projects of young artists, as well as to the talents of each individual employee.
Developing art in business: driven by passion
While this artistic commitment has inspired a desire to create and share, the decision made by Lesaffre also demonstrates a keen interest in its ecosystem and the world around it. In this bridge between the corporate universe and the artistic sphere, authentic dialogue can be fostered to shed light on different considerations while looking to the future. According to Corinne Wallaert, “Art enables us all to get some perspective, to disconnect, to talk about something else, to enjoy a change of scenery, and to think about things differently.”
Art here to stay at Lesaffre
Lesaffre intends to provide its employees with greater access to the art world, which is often viewed as unapproachable and elitist. The Group is currently working in partnership with L’Inventaire, an art library based in the Lille region, in order to introduce artworks into the Campus meeting rooms. Launched in January 2023, the project is ensuring that the choice of artwork is put to all employees working on the site. As part of the program, the pieces will also be changed every four months, enabling employees to decide which ones should be showcased.
Recording works of art throughout the Group’s branches
Lesaffre would soon like to draw up a record of the artworks’ backgrounds and their locations throughout its different branches. By understanding where each work is produced, Lesaffre hopes to explain them to make art accessible to employees.
“Symbiose” by Manon Thirriot
An allegory of the petri dish so often used by the Lesaffre’s 600 R&D experts, Manon Thirriot’s Symbiose is inspired by the cells and movements that Lesaffre employees see and carry out on a daily basis.
This spherical work is made of white Carrara marble (Italy), in reference to the first country in which Lesaffre was established in 1963, and Hainaut blue stone, to recall the blue of the swallow. Measuring 1.75 metres in diameter, it combines the traditional skills of bakers with a modern design method: the numerically controlled milling machine, a reference to the innovation that is very much in evidence at Lesaffre.
By materializing the observation of a yeast cell under a microscope, Manon Thirriot has successfully translated the company’s human impact, expertise, and sense of innovation.
“Blue Bird” by Bénédicte Dubart
This bronze statue, located at the entrance of the campus, stands 3 meters tall on its pedestal and has a wingspan of 2 meters. It is tinted in blue, a color rarely used on bronze but giving it a contemporary feel and reminding the color of the Lesaffre logo. The pedestal is made of concrete and intentionally retains the wood grain from its formwork to anchor it in nature.
It represents the societal and environmental values of Lesaffre, its companies, its people. The artist’s primary focus was on openness to the world: the outstretched arms of the Blue Bird symbolize both growth and protection. With an obvious nod to the iconic swallow, it exudes energy and openness to the world, bringing everything together under its protective wings.