NOVOCERAM: 150 YEARS OF CERAMICS – The oldest French manufacturer of ceramic cladding tells its story
Novoceram, the French ceramic manufacturer established in 1863, is one of the oldest ceramic producers in France. Its first 150 years demonstrates how the company has evolved to become the French market leader.
At the foothills of the Drôme, on the banks of the Rhône stands Novoceram, one of the jewels of French creative flair that has produced ceramics in the region since the eighteenth century.
The story started in 1863, when Louis Boissonnet took over an old furnace producing vases and roof-tiles located in Saint Vallier-sur-Rhône. In 1865 the company officially took the name « Etablissements Boissonnet » and embarked on the production of art pieces and pottery in glazed gres porcelain, such as the famous allegorical vase created by sculptor Félix Devaux, the « Le Rhône et la Saône« , that won the silver medal at the Universal Exhibition in 1900. Over time the company blossomed and acquired other production sites. In 1918, when Alexis, the son of Louis Boissonnet’s took over from his successor, decided to broaden the company’s production range by adding pieces architectural ceramics. In 1933, Louis Boissonnet, the grand-child of the founder who succeeded his own father Alexis, decided to abandon the manufacturing of pottery completely and dedicate the factory exclusively to the production of ceramic tiles. In 1958 Etablissement Boissonnet became Novoceram. From that moment on the company set about a continual investment programme designed to increase production and storage capacity, with the strategy becoming even more ambitious since 2000, when Novoceram became part of the Gruppo Concorde, one of the world leaders in the ceramic tile industry.
In 1994, close to the first site in Saint Vallier-sur-Rhône, Novoceram lay the first stone of its future head-office « Céramiques de Champblain« . It is there that, even today, the company concentrates all activities on an area of 90.000 m2: production site, offices, logistics department and the Caroscope, a multi-functional space entirely dedicated to ceramic design.
The history of 150 years has inspired the Catalan artist Maria Corte who has brilliantly summarised them in a three-dimensional fresco welcoming visitors to explore Novoceram universe.
Louis Boissonnet establishes the company.
Creation of company « Établissements Boissonnet », producing art pieces and pottery in glazed gres porcelain.
Expansion of the company and production of brown, white and printed porcelain.
Alexis, Louis Boissonnet’s son, meets Francisco Quer during his studies in Lhospier, a glaze producer in Juan-le-Pins. Together they build the Villa Mauresque, which is still visible in St Vallier today.
Silver medal at the Universal Exhibition for the allegorical vase « Le Rhône et la Saône » by sculptor Devaux.
Society of pottery producers called « Société Céramique de St Vallier, St Uze et Ponsas ».
Deposit of brand « Terre de Fonte ».
Alexis succeeds to his father Louis Boissonnet.
With Francisco Quer, they complete the range with architectural ceramics.
Louis Boissonnet dies. His son Alexis is the owner of the two production sites.
Louis Boissonnet (named after his grand-father), succeeds to his father Alexis.
The company starts the production of glazed gres mosaics and abandons pottery production.
Deposit of the patent for the construction of a double-firing kiln.
Société Novoceram is created by the founder’s grand-son.
Deposit of gres micro-mosaic patent.
Deposit of the hydraulic press patent.
Jean-Louis Boissonnet succeeds his father.
Acquisition of the « Établissements Baboin » in Saint Vallier-sur-Rhône for storage and shipping, the production capacity set at 350,000 m²/year.
Deposit of the ceramic composition patent for the production of large sizes.
The company renovates its plants adopting the rapid firing in continuous kilns and towards the production of large size ceramic tiles.
Novoceram acquires the Villeroy&Boch production site in Bourg Saint Andéol.
Novoceram concentrates its activity in the new head-office in Champblain in the Zone des Ortis in Laveyron. The production unit includes a completely automated site producing gres porcelain tiles 30x30cm and 42.5×42.5 cm. Novoceram obtains the Special Prize at the Zenith d’Or event organised by the Conseil Général de la Drôme, awarding the successful companies in the Drôme region.
The first French company to install a ceramic press of 2,500 tons of pressing strength and 60 tons of weight and a 10 metre high drier.
The company is acquired by the Gruppo Concorde, who invest in the renovation of production plants.
Differentiation of sizes: from 30×30 cm to 60×60 cm.
Launch of the Novoceram Outdoor floating installation system.
ISO 9001 : 2001 certification.
ISO 14001: 2004 certification.
Launch of the Novoceram Outdoor plus installation system.
ISO 9001 : 2008 certification.
Launch of the Novoceram Indoor plus installation system.
Opening of the Caroscope, multi-functional space dedicated to ceramic design.
The story of Novoceram started in 1863 in Saint-Vallier-sur-Rhône. With its 4 million m2 of annual production, 40 million Euros of sales, a production site surface of 90,000 m2 and 170 employees, the company is one of the leading producers of ceramic tiles in France. The first French ceramic tile company to obtain the Ecolabel award and the only French ceramic producer to obtain the ISO14001 certification for its environmental management system, since 2000 Novoceram has been part of the Gruppo Concorde, one of the largest producers of ceramic tiles in Europe.
Maria Corte Maidagan is a Spanish illustrator born in 1983. Her work is characterised by geometrical shapes with which she reinterprets classical models of the human body. Her creations cover a wide spectrum of sectors: book covers, posters, press, advertising, animation and drawings for children.
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