Art Arrives on the Lesaffre Campus

In 2022, Lesaffre inaugurated its Campus across the towns of Marcq-en-Baroeul and Marquette-lez-Lille. The site is devoted to innovation while displaying the dynamism of a company fully in tune with its times. As part of the launch, the art world was invited into the space with a first work by Manon Thirriot, a young artist and graduate of the École Supérieure d’Art du Nord-Pas de Calais. How can we make room for artistic expression within the company? In tackling this complex question, Lesaffre called on the Art Collector Invest agency and Lille-based gallerist Cédric Bacqueville to find the best answer.

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. A sculpture was the first piece to be installed on the Campus – soon to be joined by a second – 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 should be installed on the Lesaffre Campus in spring 2023, Manon Thirriot’s work, Symbiosis, 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.


An illustration of the company’s expertise

With subtle attention to detail, the young artist used a material imported from Italy – Carrara white marble – in a nod to the first country in which Lesaffre established an international presence in 1963. This was then combined with a second material from the Nord region, Hainaut stone. Symbiosis focused on purity while adopting appealing round lines which soften the rectangular architecture of the Lesaffre Campus. 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.


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.