Overview of Air Liquide’s architectural competition

The Air Liquide Group, world leader in gases, technologies and services for Industry and Health, recently launched the iLab, a unique venue to accelerate the pace of innovation and open new markets. With a multidisciplinary team, the iLab takes on a societal and future-oriented approach to renew the Group’s legacy products and explore new territories.

At the end of 2013, the iLab organized the “Rock my plant” architectural competition dedicated to Air Separation Units (ASUs). This competition is the first of its kind in the field of process industry. It aims to design and prepare the oxygen plant of the future. When integrated right from the unit design phase, architectural reflection can spur innovation. Another challenge set by this competition was to better integrate Air Liquide ecosystem’s stakeholders during the plant global design process.

Competitors come from schools of architecture based in 4 European countries (France / Paris-Malaquais, Versailles, Strasbourg, Montpellier; Italy / Venice; Poland / Krakow; Turkey / Istanbul).

The jury of the competition is comprised of seven members, among whom three leading figures from outside the Group:

  • Jean Nouvel, architect,
  • Anne Asensio, Vice-President, Design Experience, Dassault Systèmes, and
  • Clément Rousseau, Industrial Designer, Founder of the Plan Créatif Agency;

And four Air Liquide representatives:

  • François Darchis, Member of the Group’s Executive Committee, supervising innovation,
  • Olivier Delabroy Vice-President, Research and Development,
  • Walter Maurer, Solution Development Vice-President, Large Industries WBL, and
  • Bernard Saulnier, R&D Scientific Director.

The jury met on January 22, 2014, to choose the award-winning competitors among the 40 projects submitted.

Following the deliberations, 5 awards were decided:

  • The AESTHETIC Plant Prize, with a €5,000 grant;
  • The INGENIOUS Plant Prize, with a €5,000 grant;
  • The JURY’S Special Prize, with a €5,000 grant; and
  • The JURY’S SPECIAL DISTINCTION, both with a €500 grant.

Each year, Air Liquide welcomes a number of students for 3- to 6-month internships as part of their studies. The ROCK MY PLANT competition laureate applications will be considered favorably.