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Restoration of heritage monuments and buildings

What is historical monument and heritage restoration?

The restoration of heritage monuments and buildings is a complex process aimed at preserving, repairing and restoring important historical and cultural structures. This task is crucial to maintaining the cultural heritage of a region or country, as it preserves the link with the past and passes this heritage on to future generations.

The restoration of monuments and heritage buildings is a multidisciplinary discipline that combines conservation, historic preservation, architecture, traditional craftsmanship and modern technology to keep a society’s cultural and historical heritage alive. It plays an essential role in preserving the cultural identity and collective memory of a region or country.

Heritage & Art Plom
The Plom letterbox is a work that plays with balance.

This three-part faceted column stands on an axis like a “Kokei” performance.

The metal paint finish emphasizes the play of light on the faces of the volumes.
With its intriguing off-axis silhouette, Plom plays on both architectural and design codes.

Published by Galerie MICA.

Heritage & Art Espace Sonirique
A butterfly is on a desk, the desk is rooted on the ground.

This cone seems to be a butterfly, a horn of an old gramophone. It creates a silence and captures the attention in order to create a quiet place for reflection.

This desk was designed by Matali Crasset and leather-wrapped by FIM (Federation of Mechanical Industries). Espace Sonirique will fit in your interior and bring you into a dreamlike world, inspiring your next letters and your passionate readings.

A collaboration edited by Galerie MICA.

Heritage & Art Renard Roux (Vulpes Vulpes)
A collaboration between matali crasset and LAB artisans.

This project offers an alternative to stuffed animals. To achieve this, the special technique of needle painting is used to embroider with realism and poetry. After a first project, the owl frightens, it is the fox that takes shape. Like anti-trophies that take place on the walls, objects that pay homage to animals present in our culture through tales. Animal presences to magnify the animal world and show our attachment to its diversity.

A collaboration edited by Galerie MICA.

Renard Roux (Vulpes Vulpes)

An Eiffel-designed lighthouse restored near Rennes

Designed by Gustave Eiffel, the Moguériec lighthouse was built and assembled in Paris in 1876. Crézé had the privilege of restoring this fine piece of maritime heritage. It’s an honor for our team to have been chosen to work on such a historic structure. Our restorations take us on a journey through time and French history.

Phare de Moguériec

Heritage & Art Restoration – île Vierge Lighthouse
Back on the inauguration of the Île Vierge Lighthouse after three years of restoration.

On this island, which is only accessible by boat, the Crézé craftsmen worked on the restoration of the lantern. The roof of the dome is made of new copper sheets shaped in the Crézé workshop, identical to the old sheets that were not reusable. The metal framework of the dome has been restored or replaced if necessary and a system of flat brass glazing beads has been created to receive the laminated glass in accordance with current standards.

From this work, we were also able to work on the chimney of the dome which is used for ventilation, in its original state, of which we stripped the multiple layers of paintings by a micro-sandblasting. The ball and the roof are left in copper with a natural patina. The lantern is the masterpiece of the lighthouse.

Heritage & Art Restoration – Locksmithing Hôtel de la Marine
Inaugurated in June 2021 after 5 years of work, the Hôtel de la Marine is an architectural jewel that has adorned the Place de la Concorde for over 260 years.

Taking part in this exceptional restoration, Crézé had the privilege of restoring, in particular, all the interior and exterior locksmithing of the Hôtel de la Marine. The design and renovation of these locks: gates, doors, railings, etc. were carried out in our workshop in Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande, near Rennes.
Our company also installed the locksmith’s work we did in the interiors of this building, which has been classified as a historical monument since 1923, and on the gates and doors overlooking the Place de la Concorde.

Heritage & Art Oratory – La Grande Bretèche Tours
New chapel made of steel and hand-blown glass, set in a 15th century chapel.

Crézé’s mission: creation and installation of an oratory, carried out in collaboration with the Ateliers du maître verrier Helmbold and the architectural firm Le Moal. The structural shape facilitates the penetration of light and the careful acoustics of the oratory. The specificity of this work allows the doors to be opened on the entire façade towards the nave when the public is present and to be closed again for a more intimate ceremony.
From a technical point of view, this oratory is made of Jansen joinery and is 6 meters high, 13 meters long and 5 meters wide.

Heritage & Art 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.

Voir la vidéo

Phare Pierres Noires-1
Phare Pierres Noires-2

Heritage & Art 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.

Invalides grille d'honneur-2
Invalides grille d'honneur-1

Heritage & Art 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.

Grilles en fer forgé-Trésor Cathédrale de Rennes

Heritage & Art 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.

La Criée Rennes

Heritage & Art 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.

Fours à chaux Lormandière

Heritage & Art Creation of stylish object
Hervé Perrin - Le Cendrier (The Ashtray)

Steel, stainless steel, brass and all their variants (wax, patina, polishing) can adorn a private owner’s home: staircases, banisters, chimney hoods, bathroom accessories, wall lights, fountains and various decorative objects.
Each and every project is unique and has a single goal in mind: to meet the customer’s desires and find its natural place within an existing environment. Refined shapes, elegant curves, functional or stylish objects – anything can be invented and modelled…Simple shapes and elegant materials intertwine so each item can find its place.

These materials also have a place in public areas for welcoming visitors:

  • Indoors: reception area, railings, museum displays, ornamental chandelier or door handles.
  • Outdoors, with special treatment: signs or poster fixtures, shop displays or candelabras.
Objet design - Stylish object

Heritage & Art Conseil d’État in Paris
Bronze patina candelabras

Bronze patina candelabras, blown glass, creation of an upper ventilation system.

Candélabre en bronze patiné.

Heritage & Art Memorial in Bruz
Corten steel patina

The real name of Corten steel is: steel with improved atmospheric corrosion resistance.
A while ago, we realised that adding copper to mild steel improves its resistance to corrosion.
Other alloy components such as chromium, nickel, phosphorus and aluminium were used to create steel variants that become more resistant to corrosion in certain environments.
Steels with improved atmospheric corrosion resistance are low-alloyed steels, referred to as weathering steels or self-weathering steels – because in certain exposure conditions they are able to cover themselves with a protective coating known as patina.
Memorial in Bruz (35) made of Corten sheet metal. Corten steel patina.

Mémorial à Bruz

Heritage & Art Eiffel Tower logo
Brass and steel patina

The Eiffel Tower logo symbolises Paris, its elegance and its technological prowess.
The transposition of a smaller-scale logo at the entrance of the Galeries Lafayette was intended for more symbolism, to arouse the curiosity of passers-by: taut cables held by small balls and attached onto a see-through panel for a modern and discrete display.
Looking at a wider vision to focus on the full shape of the design instead of its details, the overall imprint remains in the eye and visitors are reminded of the symbol that helps them understand the full picture.
The drawing of this miniature Eiffel Tower was inspired by string art, whose main asset is the continuity of lines in a given space. Once the project had been drawn up, the fixtures were attached onto the Plexiglas, and from then on the cables simply needed to be affixed. Ultimate stage: the wooden display unit that looks exactly like neighbouring displays will ensure the public’s safety when walking around the work.
Height: 3.60 metres – 3 millimetre cable – Diameter of the stainless steel circle: 6 centimetres.

La tour Eiffel logo - Eiffel Tower logo

Heritage & Art Sculptures
Sculptures forged using stainless steel "water - earth - fire - air"

Artists or those who love art will not be outdone.
Be it from our collaboration with Michel de Broin, or the small and discrete sculptures under the Galeries Lafayette skylight. They included us in their project and gave us full control of it. For the greatest delight of all those who love to wander around new places.
The four small sculptures – created by Rémi Crézé – brought the final touch to the creative vision of the Galeries Lafayette skylight project.


Heritage & Art Carmen
Metal sculpture by Annick Leroy

From the staircase to the slope, the effort put in was as big as the upward slope itself – and it was particularly steep, even for a lovely Breton lady named Carmen!
We worked in support of the artist (Annick Leroy) to ensure the delicate installation of her sculpture: Carmen is riding up a rope and her balance is ensured by a 200-kg counterweight.


Heritage & Art 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.

Monument à Rennes
Monument à Rennes

Heritage & Art 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.


Heritage & Art A wrought iron altar for the Abbey of Paimpont
Altar of Paimpont

Wrought iron altar with fine gold lettering.

Autel Paimpont - Altar Paimpont

Heritage & Art Ambon made of polished forged stainless steel
Saint-Sauveur basilica in Rennes

An ambon – a discrete reminder of an elaborate forged stainless steel altar – is an illustration of how technical innovation and contemporary materials can work together. Polished forged stainless steel and golden orb.


Heritage & Art Forged stainless steel altar
Saint-Sauveur basilica in Rennes

Completion of a shiny, polished, forged stainless steel altar with an inserted marble top. The steel lettering was gilded with gold leaf.

Autel Saint-Sauveur - Saint-Sauveur altar

Heritage & Art Golden brass monstrance
Cathedral in Vannes

It was decided that the monstrance would increase in size and adorn the cathedral’s dome.
Brass monstrance gilded with fine gold.
Size: 1.50 metres – Height: 2.10 metres.
20 millimetre-thick magnifying glass.

Ostensoir Vannes - Monstrance Vannes

Heritage & Art 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.

Kiosque du Thabor - Thabor park kiosque
Kiosque du Thabor - Thabor park kiosque

Heritage & Art The Mont-Saint-Michel
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.

Le Mont Saint-Michel
Le Mont Saint-Michel

Heritage & Art 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.

Garde-corps Normandie - Railing in Normandy

Heritage & Art 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.

Portail Haras du pin - Gates into the Haras du Pin

Heritage & Art 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.

Château de Châteaubriant

Heritage & Art 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.

Carré Richaud
Carré Richaud

Heritage & Art Château de la Bourbansais
Railing and front gate restoration

Our purpose here was to restore the railings and front gate to the château and animal park by adding cast iron patterns. This required us to manufacture new gates, that were painted according to the family’s colour scheme: red and white.

Château de la Bourbansais

Heritage & Art Church in Lamballe
Enhancing ecclesiastical heritage

Restoring and highlighting old stained glass in the cathedral, by making double brass patina supporting bars used to affix protective laminated glass on top of the inner stained glass.

Église de Lamballe - Church in Lamballe

Heritage & Art Sainte-Thérèse church
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.

Église Sainte-Thérèse - Sainte-Thérèse church
Église Sainte-Thérèse - Sainte-Thérèse church

Heritage & Art Asfeld hotel
Restoration of a historical building

We improved and created a number of new features of this hotel in Saint-Malo, by manufacturing lanterns, a pure iron banister for the front steps, door furniture, doors and a gate. Crézé also took on the manufacture of locks and window latches.

Hôtel d’Asfeld - Asfeld hotel
Hôtel d'Alsfeld - Asfeld hotel

Heritage & Art Solidor Tower grating in Saint-Servan

This project was fulfilled in the service of Breton architectural heritage: we designed a metal grate fitted with side support bars serving as keys for affixing the grate into its casing.

Grille Tour Solidor Saint-Servan - Solidor Tower grating Saint-Servan

Heritage & Art Palais Garnier
Ironwork on gates and railings

Restoration work for the Palace of Dance, including the restoration of the iron gates and railings, as well as the restoration of the golden mascaron ornaments on the opera’s façade, using gold leaf.

Palais Garnier

Heritage & Art Place Vendôme in Paris
Creation of an iron lantern

Creative work with the manufacture of a new iron lantern, adorned with leaves and a spun steel plate crown. These features were all gilded with gold leaf. Restoration work, including the rehabilitation of the balconies.

Place Vendôme Paris
Place Vendôme Paris

Heritage & Art Hôtel de Castres banister

Restoration work concerning the banister and its leaves. All gilding was done with gold leaf.

Rampe Hôtel de Castres - Hôtel de Castres banister
Rampe Hôtel de Castres - Hôtel de Castres banister

Heritage & Art Dendrite – Monumental steel staircase
Monumental staircase, work of art by Michel de Broin

Made for the artist by Crézé.
9 tonnes of steel, size 7 m x 8 m, height 5.5 m.
European Institutions district in Kirchberg, Luxembourg – June 2016.


The challenges of restoring historic monuments and heritage

The restoration of historic monuments and heritage represents a major challenge in terms of cultural, historical, artistic and social preservation.

Restoring historic monuments preserves and maintains essential elements of a society’s culture and history. This contributes to the preservation of national and regional cultural identity.

Historic monuments are witnesses to history. Their restoration helps to tell the story to future generations by preserving material evidence of the past. Many historic monuments are exceptional works of art and architecture. Restoring them highlights these artistic creations and preserves them for art and history lovers. Restoring historic monuments offers opportunities for research and education. It enables researchers, students and the general public to better understand the history, architecture and technology of the period.

Restoring historic monuments raises public awareness of the importance of preserving our heritage. It raises awareness of the vulnerability of these monuments and the need to protect them. Historic monuments contribute to national and regional identity. They are often associated with symbols and cultural values that reinforce the sense of belonging to a community or nation.

Restoring historic monuments contributes to architectural diversity by preserving unique building styles and techniques that might otherwise be lost.

Stages in the restoration of historic monuments and heritage

Before starting any restoration work, a careful assessment of the building’s current condition is carried out. Crézé craftsmen examine damage, original materials, construction techniques and previous alterations. This documentation is used to plan the restoration steps. Our main objective is to preserve as much of the building’s original features as possible. This often means repairing or reinforcing existing structures rather than replacing them completely. Restoration materials and techniques must be compatible with the original.

Architectural historians and archaeologists play an essential role in restoration. They conduct in-depth research to understand the building’s history, cultural context and historical significance. This information helps guide restoration decisions. Original materials are often precious and must be carefully preserved. In some cases, it is necessary to restore decorative or structural elements using traditional craft techniques.

Architects specializing in restoration work on the design of restoration interventions. They ensure that additions or repairs are consistent with the building’s original style and period. Crézé’s expertise in ironwork means that we are regularly entrusted with works requiring restoration. Skilled craftsmen are essential for reproducing intricate details and decorative elements.

Restoring monuments and heritage buildings is often a long-term project, requiring meticulous planning, coordination of multidisciplinary teams and rigorous monitoring to ensure success.

Heritage restoration company