Air Liquide's i-Lab rewards architecture students for their work on the oxygen plant of the future.

February 25, 2014

During a recent ceremony at the Institute of the Arabic World in Paris (France), Air Liquide rewarded architecture students from around Europe for their ideas on the oxygen plant of the Future.

This competition of ideas, entitled "Rock my Plant" and launched in 2013 by Air Liquide's i-Lab, offered architecture students from around Europe the opportunity to dream up and design Air Liquide's air separation unit of the future, using the principal technological bricks that make up this production unit.

Thanks to this competition, 65 students from seven architecture schools in France, Italy, Poland, and Turkey were given the opportunity to present their ideas and vision for reinventing the aesthetics and the organisation of the oxygen production unit of the future. In total, 40 projects were submitted.

The jury - co-chaired by the architect Jean Nouvel and François Darchis, member of Air Liquide's Executive Committee in charge of innovation - was composed of Dassault Systems' Vice-President for Design Experience, Anne Asensio; Industrial designer and founder of the Agency Plan Créatif (renamed Babel), Clément Rousseau; Air Liquide's Research and Development Director, Olivier Delabroy; Development Director for the Air Liquide group's Large Industries World Business Line, Walter Maurer; and Scientific Director for Air Liquide's R&D Department, Bernard Saulnier.

The jury awarded five prizes:

  • The Aesthetic Plant prize and the Ingenious Plant prize, both awarded to two groups of students from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture Paris-Malaquais;
  • the Jury's Special Prize, which went to the Cracow University of Technology;
  • and two Special Distinctions by the Jury, awarded to the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Strasbourg and the IUAV (University of Architecture of Venice) in Italy.

The members of the jury stressed the quality and great diversity of the work submitted by the students, which combined the plant's overall aesthetics, the choice of materials used, and the modularity of the design. Jury members particularly appreciated how the contestants managed to redesign the factory for use in urban areas and how they made it blend into its environment.

All of the projects were a source of inspiration for Air Liquide, and the ideas from the winning projects may be implemented by the Group. Project details are presented on the website

The "Rock my Plant" competition is an initiative of the i-Lab, the Group's laboratory for new ideas, whose purpose is to help accelerate the pace of innovation and explore new markets. It is also part of Air Liquide's approach to open innovation.