Published: May 22, 2024
Published: May 22, 2024

Stéphane Grégoire: Modeling the Architectural Face of Belgium

Decades in the architectural coatings field gave Stéphane Grégoire unique insights, allowing him to witness a complete transformation of the market demands, as well as development of the SIGMA COATINGS™ portfolio. Read on as Stéphane reveals the background and thought behind the renovation process of several popular Belgian buildings.


The Journey of Push and Pull

Stéphane serves as project coordinator in the Architectural Coatings business, and his journey through PPG has spanned an incredible 37 years! Stéphane started as technical engineer at Sigma Coatings in the paint and resin manufacturing plant located in Manage, Belgium. Soon afterwards, he moved to being responsible for a paint production site in Africa, communicating with wholesalers of Liévin, a subsidiary of PetroFina. Back in Belgium, he had the role of technical advisor in Sigma Kalon before the brand was acquired by PPG.

Currently, Stéphane's role is to approach project owners and provide them with information on products and services. He compares this process to pushing and pulling.

The job of a project coordinator is more about pushing. You could even compare it to technical lobbying. Our first approach is to scan the market players at events and trade fairs where we participate as an exhibitor or as a partner. The second approach is at the project level. After conducting research to determine current or future projects, the most suitable painting system is recommended to decision makers.

Famous Belgian Buildings

This entire process played an essential role in selecting the correct paints for three Belgian building projects that Stéphane has been involved with.

The first project, EUROPA Building on Rue de la Loi in Brussels, is where the major meetings of the European Commission take place. It presented an interesting challenge of finding a paint that would maintain the natural look of the wood while guaranteeing a longer maintenance interval compared to stains.

"The 3,000 decorative oak frames on the building come from 28 countries of the European Union and were initially treated with stain. However, due to the various stresses they are exposed to, the maintenance interval was too short."

The team selected the Sigma Tigron Extreme Satin system with a color close to that of natural wood.

The second project is located at the bottom of Rue Béliard. The steel construction of Le Fil d’Ariane (Ariadne’s Thread bridge), is painted with the Sigma Tigron primer and Sigma Tigron Extreme Satin.

Stéphane explains that "the customer asked for a high-performance, but easy-to-use painting system with good resistance over time. It was also necessary to conduct research to find the color corresponding to the original color of the construction."

For the third project, Stéphane highlights a listed building in Brussels that has been repainted by GRER Gillet Restauration et Rénovation. A highly water vapor-permeable paint with a mineral appearance was required. A combination of Sigma Siloxan Fix Syn and Sigma Siloxan Matt system was chosen.

Preserving and Beautifying Hospitals

Aside from the three Belgian building projects, Stéphane's first major project as a technical advisor was the renovation of the facades of the Ambroise Paré hospital in Mons in 1993. The current name of the hospital is CHU Helora – Site Kennedy.

At that time, the architect was looking for a paint system that resembled limewashing but also had good rain resistance. We can see that the Sigma Siloxan paint system was chosen wisely because after having resisted valiantly for more than 20 years, it was prescribed again during the expansion of the hospital in 2014.

A more recent achievement is the painting of the Chirec hospital in Brussels in 2017. Sigma Pearl Clean Matt and Satin were applied to the halls and rooms of this hospital thanks to their excellent cleanability.

"Following a flood of the basements after a storm towards the end of the work, the plasterboard panels were heavily soaked. To prevent the possible growth of mold, we recommended Sigma Resist Fungi Matt, which was applied to all the walls of the basements to great satisfaction!"

Expanding Towards Sustainably Advantaged Products

Thanks to his incredible career journey, Stéphane has witnessed the evolution of products as well as markets.

"At the beginning, we had six or seven products. Now, we have almost 70 or even 90 different products, and with technical developments and standards constantly evolving, it can be challenging to keep up."

Stéphane explains that the current trend in the architectural coatings market is towards sustainably advantaged products. Nowadays, the market has evolved to a point where customers are paying attention to environmental impact, and therefore also to the products that they apply to walls, floors, and building constructions.

Stéphane and his team are making sure to always “be in touch with all the current and future projects”, read the market trends and be one step ahead, so that when a new demand arises, Sigma Coatings already has the solution!

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