Crézé: Devoted to the development and reputation of French heritage. Whether we are called upon to restore and renovate ecclesiastic, national or regional public heritage sites, or privately-owned cultural properties, our experience and skills in decorative and wrought ironwork as well as heavy and architectural metalwork have led us to collaborate on countless projects with the Chief Architects of Historical Monuments in France. These projects continually bolster and further cultivate our age-old expertise.
Our mastery in the field leads us to work on numerous prestigious productions, ranging from the conservation of religious art through the restoration of sculptures and the creation of altars, ambons, tabernacles, and monstrances, to the refurbishment and identical reproduction of various historical sites and their gates, railings, handrails, guardrails, pavilions and more.
Crézé contributes to France's reputation throughout the world, maintaining and enhancing notorious locations such as the Mont Saint-Michel, the Palais Garnier opera house, and the Place Vendôme square. Our love for our home region also explains our ambition to preserve our local cultural and architectural heritage.
This passion has driven us to partake in the restoration and embellishment of various sites, such as the Vannes Cathedral, the Basilique Saint-Sauveur Basilica and Parc du Thabor gardens in Rennes, and both the Bourbansais and Châteaubriand Castles.
It is with great pride that Crézé bears the EPV label for Living Heritage Companies, bestowed by the French government to French businesses who boast exceptional craftsmanship and industrial know-how.
Find out more about our distinguished projects, undertaken in the service of French and Breton heritage, below.
With every project comes new challenges that serve to bolster our expertise. It is this expertise that allows Crézé to carry out restorations on a regional, national, and even international level. On a more local level, Crézé is a major player in regional conservation, with restoration projects including the Kiosque du Thaborpavilion in Rennes, and the gates and railings that border the Brittany Prefecture. Each time we restore historical monuments in France – such as the grandiose front gate to the Les Invalides museum, or the gate and railings around the Palais Garnier opera house –, we strive to bring French craftsmanship and heritage to the forefront. The renovation of such monumental landmarks is extraordinarily demanding in terms of the quality of work expected of and provided by our teams.
Our workshop in Rennes, France, has developed exceptional know-how in the fashioning of metals such as steel, pure and wrought-iron, brass, and bronze, thus allowing us to work on all types of projects; from the restoration and refurbishment of French historical monuments and heritage sites, to the creation of public property. This mastery in the field is what leads Crézé to work on so many prestigious historical sites.
As part of its desire to support French heritage, Crézé helped found the Club des Mécènes du Patrimoine de Bretagne (Breton Heritage Patronage Club) in 2016. This club aims to provide financial support for the restoration and enhancement of regional heritage, while promoting and preserving local craftsmanship.
Crézé thus contributes to the excellence of French craftsmanship and its reputation throughout the world.
Restoration of Historical Gateway – Paris
Hôtel national des Invalides - ‘grille d’honneur’ gateway
Underneath its external splendour, the portail d’honneur gateway to the Hôtel des Invalides was badly corroded. Having been renovated many times since the 18th century, it was once again in need of some care and attention. The Crézé team constructed and installed a provisional grilled gateway to ensure the security of the site while the whole gateway and associated railings were transferred to be restored at our ironworks workshop.
Under the stewardship of the architect in chief for historical monuments, we cleaned, repaired, overhauled, strengthened, reforged, recreated, reassembled, treated, painted the gate before handing over to Mariotti, who specialise in gold leaf works, so they could add the final touch before reinstating the gateway on-site. A great showcase of French talent for restoring historic monuments.
Fours à Chaux restoration works – Lormandière – Chartres de Bretagne
Breathing life back into Brittany’s industrial heritage
This natural site, listed by the Ille et Vilaine departmental council, that showcases the industrial history of Brittany underwent comprehensive renovation works with the aim of opening it to the public. Crézé carefully recreated or restored all steel frames, steel doors and steel gates, with hot riveting.
Monument in Rennes
Bronze patina sculpture
This monument was erected on the Champ de Mars in Rennes in commemoration of the 1870-1871 war victims. The artist no doubt wanted to step away from tradition by representing a woman crying behind every soldier, her fist raised in anger.
Rennes’ City Hall asked us to remove and restore the sculpture so as to transport it to the entrance of the Regional Prefecture in Rennes.
The draped dress, female curves, spread wings and expressive face are all details that were carefully cleaned after having been exposed for over a century. The bronze patina was then a combination of careful alchemy and patience, so the sunlight would finally reflect what we had guessed was the original outline of the sculpture and overall harmony of the work. The statue now stands opposite the Regional Prefecture, in Rue Martenot in Rennes.
Restoration of Thabor park kiosque
Its light and refined silhouette is well-known by those who stroll down the paths in the Thabor park. To perpetuate its long history, major restoration work was required.
Crézé was entrusted with being the sole contractor for the restoration of this kiosque – a strong symbol from the 19th century romantic era. The roof was removed, new cast iron gusset plates were made, the framework was reinforced, enamelled iron crests were fashioned and new banisters were added to each side of the staircase.
Read about the know-how of all these tradespeople who contribute to perpetuating common architectural heritage in the book « Les métiers d’art au service du Patrimoine » – Le Kiosque du Thabor – Editions Apogée.
Railing in Normandy
Railing restoration in a manor
This railing, designed for the outside steps leading up to the manor’s tower, was created with the building’s Normandy spirit in mind. This creation encompasses curved banisters and railings, made especially for cut-stone steps leading up to the house. All assemblies were done using tailor-made rivets.
Gates into the Haras du Pin
Restoration in the service of architectural heritage
Crézé was consulted for this majestic entrance to the National Horse Breeding Centre, and proceeded to restore the gate and its spikes. The gilding on the leaves, bee and horse’s head was renewed using 24-carat gold leaf. In addition to the restoration work, gate function was also improved by making it automatic.
Carré Richaud – Former military hospital in Versailles
Wrought iron restoration and creation project
A combined restoration and creation project, aiming to transform this exceptional place into luxury apartments. As such, the iron-worked banisters were brought up to standard and restored. All of the railings also required a certain amount of restoration work. Regarding the creative part of the project, the building was enriched with a new circular glass structure.
The Crézé workshop is where craftsmanship and creation come together. It is here that successful collaborations are born, thanks to the key skills of our teams and the architects, designers, and artists with whom we do business. Consideration, imagination, creativity, and collaboration are the key words that inspire our craftsmen in all their creations. The works we produce are the fruit of our ambition to proudly showcase the materials and techniques we use.
Crézé's creations can be found in the most unique and illustrious locations – the Pierres Noires lighthouse in Finistère and the Place Vendôme square in Paris, for instance –, testifying to the trust bestowed upon us by our major national customers. Crézé owes its renown to the quality of its teams' craftsmanship and to their ability to adapt to any type of material, configuration, or environment – whether indoors or outdoors. As we see it, decorative ironwork allows us to (re)create pieces that blend the appeal of modernity with the charm of yesteryear.
We design creations for indoor and outdoor use alike. They are thought out and drawn up in close collaboration with both customers and general contractors. They are then produced in our workshops and installed by our very own teams.
Forged iron grills – Rennes Cathedral
The treasures of the famous cathedral
The works to restore the St Pierre Cathedral in Rennes, which started in 2009, were recently completed with the installation of the ‘Quatre Vivants’ statues in the four pendants under the dome, and the restoration of the alterpiece (originally from Antwerp) and other treasures on display. As part of these works, Crézé created grills from forged iron at its ironworks workshop, to protect the altarpiece. The traditional style work achieved its aim: the forged grills seem like they have always been there.
Artistic metalwork: The lanterns of the Pierres Noires Lighthouse
The lighthouse shining once again
The 26th of September of 2018 saw the opening of the Pierres Noires Lighthouse historical monument, after several months of restoration works under the stewardship of Phares & Balises. The old lantern, over 150 years old, was transported by helicopter and left with Crézé. In our ironworks workshop, we recreated another lantern in its image, using copper, brass and bronze, which should be able to resist the elements for the next 150 years. This was a great project that was a perfect fit with our company purpose: to nourish, expand and display France’s exceptional expertise in artistic metalwork.
La Criée automatic vestibule – Rennes
The central halls include elegant automatic doors
Automatic doors for a shop? No, a vestibule that fits perfectly with the architectural style of this hotspot on the Rennes restaurant scene, which continued its progressive transformation with an update to its graphic identity: la Criée Marché Central.
Locksmith for a tabernacle
Saint-Yves chapel, Rennes
The sacred arts, far from being confined to restoration, marked their era with a boost of creativity that even saw a monumental chandelier installed – surrounded by other religious items such as a candle holder or baptismal fonts.
Sacred objects have brought a touch of light to the Saint-Yves clinic in Rennes.
Restoration of pure iron railings
The Mont-Saint-Michel, one of the most visited monuments in France, was also restored. How to ensure the new railings would look like they had lived through 200 years of history? To give them an old-fashioned texture, all substances were skilfully forged and hammered. These pure-iron railings were adorned with traditional riveted fixtures and are resistant to sea spray and the salty sea air from the coast.
Château in Châteaubriant
Granting the public renewed access to Brittany's architectural heritage
The purpose of this project was to allow public access to a newly restored part of the château, the construction of which dates back to the 15th century. This large-scale restoration aimed to integrate Corten sheet metal modules at the top of the dilapidated dungeon. This project also included the restoration of the Grand Logis, now bedecked with doors, a staircase, banisters, windows and silkscreen glass.
Creation of stainless steel liturgical furniture
Forged, polished and shiny stainless steel and brass with embedded enamels were used to design baptismal fonts and a Paschal candle holder. Brushed stainless steel and polished shiny brass gave a gleaming touch to the church after the 2001 fire.