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Located along the Seine River, the Musée du Quai Branly has neighbors like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. It was inaugurated last June by French president Jacques Chirac.

The museum, built on one of the last available sites in the heart of Paris, was designed by the architect Jean Nouvel. He selected the Hydro brand Technal as one of the suppliers.

Technal, the leader in aluminium building systems in France, delivered aluminium curtain walling for the construction. Further, the project included brand products from Hydro suppliers Wicona and Architectural Systems.

"Products from three brands - Technal, Wicona and Architectural Systems - were specified because this was the bestanswer to the very specific facade along the Seine," says Claude Prévost, sales manager for Hydro Building Systems in France. "Our aluminium systems were adapted to this high-quality environmental museum.

"This project is an example of our commercial strategy: We want sustainability to be a pillar of progress in the future."

High environmental quality

The museum is unquestionably French, striking yet puzzlingly fascinating. It resembles a colorful footbridge, with glass walls - replacing windows – that appear as boxes, suspended in air.

Of course when it comes to color, the Musée du Quai Branly is above all green, inspired by environmental quality norms and criteria linked to sustainability. In fact, the museum detailed the conceptual process in a 40-page sustainable development report.

In the report, Nouvel says that using such criteria in architecture means "making higher initial investments in order to benefit from greater ecological and economic advantages later on," he says. "The Musée du Quai Branly is a particularly good example."

Stéphane Martin, the museum's president, adds in the report that "throughout the construction phase ... technological solutions were implemented to reduce pollution and minimize risks affecting natural and social balances in the long term."

Hydro Building Systems, which includes the brands Technal, Domal and Wicona, develops and sells aluminium-based building systems destined for more than 100 countries around the globe. It is part of Hydro, one of the world's leading suppliers of energy and aluminium, with 33,000 employees in nearly 40 countries.