VMZINC® is celebrating its 180th anniversary on May 24th. One hundred and eighty years working for Building.
The brand at the origins of rolled zinc, which in 1837 was called “Société des Mines et Fonderies de Zinc de la Vieille Montagne”, succeeded in constantly developing its offer of products, solutions, services and surface aspects. A culture of innovation, combined with incomparable know-how and the natural properties of zinc, enabled the company to:
- anticipate trends down through the decades,
- meet the technical and aesthetic requirements of architects, clients, tradespeople and installers,
- magnify this original material.
Durable, malleable and adaptable, VMZINC® rolled zinc can be installed in a multitude of applications, in roofing, facade, rainwater evacuation systems and ornamentation, contributing directly to functionality, as well as to the expressiveness of each building. This noble material has always been used for “pertinent continuities”, those sought in architecture for transition from roof to facade, from old to new, from city centre to suburb, from European cities to large metropolitan cities worldwide. With over 2.7 billion m² installed across the globe over the period, the brand has an international reputation.
Although chemists in antiquity and the Middle Ages tried to handle zinc, which was formerly better known as “Indian tin”, it was not until the industrial revolution and the beginning of the 19th century that zinc was produced on a large scale. The Abbott and chemist JEAN-JACQUES DONY initiated this with his original refining process, developed in Liège between 1806 and 1810. Soon he was operating the rich zinc ore deposit at the place known as Altenberg (Vieille Montagne), near Aix-la-Chapelle. Several years later, on 24 May 1837, the Société des Mines et Fonderies de Zinc de la Vieille Montagne was created. With a strong image of a “new industrial product” and its undeniable properties of flexibility, durability and resistance to corrosion, zinc arrived at just the right time in Paris when BARON HAUSSMANN was working on his radical transformation.
The company was integrated into the Union Minière Group in 1989, a group that was renamed Umicore in 2003. During the intervening period, in 1994, Vieille Montagne became VMZINC (a more compact and more “international” name retaining the famous letters “V” and “M”).
180 years later, VMZINC® has withstood the test of time by adapting to each period, thanks to the qualities of its material, the skills of its teams and the loyal support of the zinc-roofing profession.
From ridge cap to gutter, to downpipe, via roofing panels and valleys, VMZINC® rolled zinc draws a continuous line across the tops of buildings. The ideal material for architectural seaming, it is folded and welded to roof envelopes and make them watertight, as well as all their singular points. Continuous improvements of installation techniques and the development of high quality manual tools and profiling machines contributed to its unrivalled success.
OFFICE BUILDING, HOBOKEN (BELGIUM) CONIX ARCHITECTS - PHOTO VMZINC®- SERGE BRISON
Initially used solely for roofing, VMZINC® rolled zinc now extends its protective coat to facades, making it equally possible to cut radial panels to roof the domes of a Byzantine church and to install cassettes on the pleated facades of a contemporary theatre.
It unites the old and the new, and can be used for both roof extensions and horizontal extensions, creating discreet trims between the most heterogeneous of flat surfaces, forms and materials such as glass, wood and concrete.
The adventure of rolled zinc began on the rooftops of Paris. Thanks to VMZINC®, it continued progressing and spread all over France, and then all over Europe and to the four corners of the planet.
Now it has travelled beyond the borders of Europe, in territories where this material was until recently unknown, where new uses and a new zinc culture were invented. In these new contexts, complying with different regulations, architects blend zinc with local practices and give it new expressions.
The ARCHIZINC TROPHY, VMZINC®’s international competition, has been showcasing original, quality, local architecture for almost 15 years on all five continents. It confirms the company’s reputation and its capacity to adapt its material to suit broadly diverse cultures, building typologies and architectural styles.
CONTINUITIES CREATING TOMORROW’S HERITAGE
An expert in zinc since it was created, VMZINC® is constantly pushing the boundaries of its material by regularly introducing innovative systems and exclusive surface aspects. A pioneering approach that enables it to retain its position as a world reference. After the creation of PREWEATHERED ZINCS, LACQUERED ZINCS and TECHNICAL ZINCS, the brand yet again put its know-how to work for architecture in 2014 when it launched AZENGAR®, the 1st engraved zinc on the market.
Since 2016, VMZINC® has been providing customised zinc with its range of PIGMENTO® colours on request. The texture aspect shows through the colour, and the zinc retains its essential character. This unprecedented offer on the market makes it possible to create a multitude of shades. Multi-coloured, preweathered, engraved or textured, VMZINC® enables all creativities: scale motifs, continuous strips with varying widths, hollow or raised joints, perforations on request that give transparency to the metal.
“Zinc provides its sustainable, durable skin to increasingly inventive creations, to the architectural designs of today that will become the heritage of tomorrow, similar to the monuments of the past, protected by zinc, which are now recognisable and sometimes become cult buildings”, explains Roger BALTUS, Director of Communication with VMZINC.
VMZINC® would not be VMZINC® without the tens of thousands of women and men who successively contributed to the history of the company, or without those who work on the zinc in our plants, our workshops and on rooftops. Their involvement and their pride have made zinc professions evolve and last for almost two centuries.
VMZINC®’s DNA is based on human values that enabled the company and its staff to build a sincere and lasting relationship with its clients.
It is also made of technology, innovation and commercial sense.
For its 180th anniversary, VMZINC® also created an anniversary website, retracing the history of the brand in images. Designed almost like a guest book, it allows staff, architects, and installation companies, partners… to put their messages, images and videos online. See the “Celebrate our anniversary!” section.