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Saint-Gobain: From French Royalty to Sama Beirut…

Saint-Gobain is a French multinational corporation founded in 1665 in Paris. It is now headquartered near the French capital.  It started as a mirror royal manufacturer. The Corporation is now producing a wide range of construction and high-performance materials. Saint-Gobain products are being used in the biggest projects in the region and the world… including Sama Beirut’s Glass Facade

A step back in time  

As a prime example of a successful empirical organization, Saint-Gobain’s royal manufacture dates back to 1665. At that time, the world leader in glass manufacturing was Venice. However, Paris wanted to become self-sufficient in meeting domestic demand for luxury products. The competition between France and the Republic of Venice was fierce. The luxury items that best reflected Saint-Gobain’s production were not only mirrors but also lace and silk, refined materials that were on high demand among the upper classes of society at that time. Ballrooms, castles, and other interiors were enriched with expensive and lavish decorations. The company was famous for having produced the glass for the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles. After the  French Revolution in 1789, the company fell on hard times, which was logical due to the abolishment of the royal class and the fact that the luxury market had entered into a recession.

It wasn’t until 1830, when King Louis-Philippe  rose to the throne under the newly restored French monarchy, that Saint-Gobain turned into a Public Limited Company and became independent from the state. Thus, it started manufacturing glass and mirrors in big large numbers. Its impact was clear on the Crystal Palace in London as well as on le Jardin des Plantes, le Grand et le Petit Palais, as well as Les Halles and the Milan railway station. Saint-Gobain made its mark on optical reflecting telescopes during the beginning of the 20th century.

Saint-Gobain’s historical success didn’t stop here. It moved forward in time and expanded its products to include jars, bottles, tableware, glassware and fiberglass.

The company kept on evolving and its sales rate continued to rise. By the 1960s, Saint-Gobain was managing more than 150 holdings.

A business model

Not only is Saint-Gobain the image of a manufacturing company that made history, it is also the image of an innovative enterprise which developed its business, invented, and created new products, made from new materials. It is a leading example of a company not resisting to change, able to cope in hard times and to move forward, evolve, and be a leader in its field, as well as a pioneer in new sectors, thanks to first-hand techniques and processes. Not only did the company flourish in France, but also expanded its expertise to the rest of Europe. From 1986, until today, the company keeps on expanding its product line and improving its distribution. Moreover, nowadays, this success model hasn’t stopped. It also made its way to the Middle East, granting Sama Beirut the most deluxe and over-the-top glass façade