The Morris columns populating the pavements of Paris have been refurbished with new, flax-fibre composite domes. Developed by Mecelec Composites, the development has been shortlisted as a finalist of the JEC Innovation Awards in the Design & Furniture category.
Morris advertising columns are named after their nineteenth-century inventor, Gabriel Morris. Their popularity grew rapidly and the columns - 550 in Paris, today owned and operated by JCDecaux - remain in use.
The sustainable new design is the first application of flax-fibre BMC for mass production and combines the advantages of composite materials - lightness and strength - with stringent environmental requirements.
The dome of the Morris columns is composed of 23 different parts, 14 of which are made from composite materials. Mecelec Composites developed a new RTM complex and a new BMC material, reinforced exclusively with a flax mat, to produce the domes. It is, said Bertrand Vieille, head of sales at Mecelec Composites, the ‘only BMC with a 100% flax fibre reinforcement, which uses a partially recycled ABS resin’.
“It was created specifically for this project and we had to work on the processes in order to adapt them to this new material,” he explained.
In another innovative detail, the bonding process has been replaced with a time-saving mechanical assembly process using an invisible fixing system.
“For this project, we imagined, created, produced and delivered a mass-produced composite application with a low environmental impact within less than a year. At the end of its lifecycle, the product completely breaks down, leaving no fibre residue,” noted Bénédicte Durand, CEO Mecelec Composites.