The Magritte Museum came into being thanks to an original partnership of the GDF SUEZ Group with the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, the Magritte Foundation, the Belgian Régie des Bâtiments, and Belgium’s Science Policy Administration.
The museum partnership marks one of the first times in Belgium that a private company made its experience and professional skills available free of charge for the benefit of a museographic project of such size; it also marks the country’s first skill-based sponsorship of its kind.
The partnership’s goal and its innovative character were acclaimed with Prométhéa’s award to GDF SUEZ of the 2008 Caïus Prize for Major Company Culture Sponsorship (awarded for corporate giving in Belgium).
The GDF SUEZ Group provided the full expertise of its energy services business line, an area where it is European leader with 77,000 employees and EUR 14 billion in 2008 revenues. Its subsidiaries involved included:
• Fabricom GTI and AXIMA Contracting for all challenges involving electrical, air conditioning, and ventilation facilities that were essential for conserving and protecting the art works and their lighting – one of the worksite’s key objectives: to conserve and showcase Magritte’s works of art. Thanks to the techniques used in lighting, the museum will consume 30% less energy;
• INEO media system, a French subsidiary, installed electronic systems (including interactive terminals, video display points, an Internet documentation site, and five “animated windows” that will reflect the Magritte sky); and
• for energy, Solar Technics for the solar panels installed on the museum roof, and Electrabel, which contributed the project’s sustainable dimension by providing 100% renewable electrical energy.
The Group carried out all of the museum building’s renovation work (covering close to 27,000 sq. ft.), with a commitment of over 400 employees.
The largest corporate sponsorship project ever undertaken by GDF SUEZ
Through this Magritte Museum skill-based sponsorship, GDF SUEZ objectives are to showcase an exceptional collection and a major share of Belgium’s cultural legacy, to promote access to this heritage for everyone, and to marshal the skills, know-how, and innovativeness of its professionals in support of a major loyalty-building project with an important sustainable development focus.
More directly, the GDF SUEZ support for the Magritte Museum illustrates the importance of the group’s location in Belgium where it is one of the country’s largest employers and industrial groups (the country’s largest electricity producer, where it generates 17% of its global revenues and has over 25,000 employees).
In Belgium, for several years, GDF SUEZ has developed a strong skill-based sponsorship program through:
• the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica polar station, and
• 'Living Tomorrow' at Vilvoorde.
In France, the Group carried out the lighting of the Louvre Pyramid.
Beyond its skill-based sponsorship program, GDF SUEZ has developed an ambitious partnership with the Magritte Museum to enhance its prominence.
By way of example, to showcase the project throughout the entire, nearly year-long period of building renovation, GDF SUEZ organized and underwrote the design, production, and financing of an immense building cover, inspired by Magritte’s 1954 painting l’Empire des Lumières (Dominion of Light), to decorate the building. The striking trompe-l’oeil was backlit at night with electricity from solar panels provided by a Group subsidiary, Solar Technics.