The roads of the imagination

01 The principle

The principle

Linking the road and art, two worlds where travel beckons

Founded in the early 1990s at the initiative of Alain Dupont, Colas Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer between 1987 and 2007, the Colas Foundation seeks to promote works of art in the fields of contemporary painting.

For almost 30 years, the Colas Foundation has supported painting, by ordering works from artists for its collection, as well as commissioning urban art frescoes at the Group’s industrial facilities.

“The idea is to imagine the roads of today and tomorrow and to paint them. Synonymous with dreams, liberty, and exchange, roads link people together, helping to generate economic and cultural wealth. Thanks to the Colas Foundation, roads also inspire artistic creation. (…) In addition to supporting painting and talent, the Colas Foundation helps highlight roads, Colas’ core business, while federating the men and women in the Group around shared cultural values.” (Alain Dupont)

The paintings are then exhibited at a private viewing held at the company's head office in Paris before being hung in the Group's offices and reception areas in France and around the world.

Today, the Colas Foundation owns nearly 350 “Imaginary Roads” worldwide, reflecting current trends in pictorial art and the place of the road in the contemporary world.  

Contact :

Christelle Lemonnier
Fondation Colas
1 rue du Colonel Pierre Avia
F - 75015 Paris 
christelle.lemonnier@colas.com
Tel:+33 1 47 61 76 48

02 The Foundation and Urban Art

The Foundation and Urban Art

The challenges involved in urbanization are at the heart of what the Colas Group does. In 2018, it was only natural for the Colas Foundation to launch an urban art program to participate in open-air cultural actions in cities and to support young talents who are reinventing the codes of street art.

As part of the program, the Foundation invites artists to create works on the Group's production and operating facilities that have high visibility in the urban landscape.

In Béziers, France, the artist Mathias BREZ produced a monumental, colorful 13-meter work on the concrete plant at the Servant group, a Colas company.

In Bonneuil-sur-Marne, near Paris, an asphalt plant at SPME (Société Parisienne de Matériaux Enrobés) served as a blank page for the Marseille-based artist ALFE. The work covers 3 silos with an abstract composition, both geometric and gestural, echoes expertise and construction.

In parallel, the Foundation also brings in artists to paint prefab jobsite buildings and give color to the city. Worthy of mention, the work of Outsider, who painted the Group’s “base camp” prefabs.

This patronage drive is also enriched by the creation of painted walls in the heart of the city. In October 2019, Colas joined the street art biennial Teenage Kicks by inviting British artist Helen Bur to create a large fresco in downtown Rennes.

These are just a few examples of Colas’ desire to open the way to art for as many people as possible.