NMC Live 75
The NMC magazine for employees and business partners
Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder
A cursory glance that makes us stop short – fascinated by the newly discovered beauty of a situation, a living being or an object that we see every day but are now seeing
with new eyes. So what is beauty? Scientists worldwide have
been trying to answer this question for years. According to the
proverb, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. And yet there
is often a consensus on what is beautiful and what is less so,
whether it be a person, an experience, or just a moment. At
NMC too, we tend to agree on what is beautiful – and this
throughout the world. However, beauty is not just visual. Relaxation, fun and harmony are also part of it, as is everyday
familiarity. We even see beauty in the unexpected, time and
When I think of beauty, I think of a tastefully furnished house,
stylish paintings, a warm ambience, artistically arranged flowers or a good piece of music. I think of fashion, architecture or
a charming landscape. For me beauty is when colors, shapes
and materials work in harmony together, when they create an
atmosphere and rouse emotions. I even find a simple smile
beautiful because it gives me so much pleasure.
I have a weakness for fine things and I let myself be inspired,
motivated and enthralled by them. Perhaps it is linked to my
star sign: I am a Taurus and Taureans are said to have a certain sense of beauty.
Fortunately, my job gives me many opportunities to occupy myself with aesthetics. I am very interested in the design of our
products. I find our decorative moldings beautiful, once mounted and painted they give rooms a very personal touch and a
stylish atmosphere. I also find inspiration when I reach our com-
pany site from the hustle and bustle of the street and enjoy the
view of our administrative center in Eynatten with its marvelous
For me having a perfect corporate image is particularly important. We want to convince people to buy our products using attractive trade fair stands, brochures and product presentations.
Attractive packaging and well thought-out content represent our
high commitment to quality.
This edition of nmc-LIVE focuses on beauty, the beauty that surrounds us every day and the beauty that we create ourselves
with such devotion. Prepare to be surprised!
I hope you enjoy reading this edition.
Whether it is the symmetry of the whole or the beauty of fascinating details – he who searches for beauty does not have to look
far. When asked, NMC employees say that they find beauty in
their immediate surroundings, such as a beautiful song or a cheerful bus driver on the way to work, and sharing special moments
with colleagues and friends. For Eva from NMC Sweden, it is the
tastefully designed courtyard of the factory premises, which is an
ideal place to relax. For Joseph in Italy it is the sight of the remarkable architecture on his way to work. The sunrise magically brings
a smile to the face of Justyna in Poland and in Germany it is the
everyday view from the office window that Dieter enjoys in the
morning. The vibrant autumn weather or the colors of spring can
also be personally experienced as an embodiment of beauty.
The things that we find beautiful often seem to us to be genuine
and clever at the same time. True beauty grabs our attention in
the blink of an eye and is emotionally interwoven with happiness. It is part of the quality of life that NMC wishes to foster with
its products and its corporate philosophy. The water lilies in the
lovingly designed park in front of the head office in Belgium are
as much evidence of this as the products for embellishing rooms
and buildings. Functional sections are used as packaging to protect beauty. Insulating materials provide cozy warmth in winter.
Not least, through its commitment to sport and leisure and the
accessories it produces for this, NMC champions comfort and
beauty in life. Beauty has many facets, small, large, unique and
recurrent. In fact it is so fascinating that we have dedicated this
entire magazine to it.
A glittering entrance
The Hilton brand is known worldwide as a Mecca for the
rich and beautiful. Anyone who spends the night in one of around
3,800 Hilton hotels becomes a part of this tradition, which has
evolved over the years and has always been focused on discreet
luxury with a feel good factor. Conrad Nicholson Hilton began
this success story in 1919 when he opened his first hotel in Texas.
In the 20th century his name already stood for exclusive comfort
from the USA, to Central America to Europe. The introduction of
the central reservations office influenced development of the hotel industry, as did rooms with television sets. Today Hilton Worldwide is represented in 91 countries around the globe.
In 1969 the first hotel of the DoubleTree by Hilton brand opened
in the USA. Here the main idea is that it is the little things that
make a difference, for example every guest receives a warm
welcome cookie decorated with his or her name. A fine tradition, which is now making its arrival in Zagreb, where a DoubleTree hotel is to open in January 2013 after two years of building
work. The new hotel is situated in the heart of Zagreb's business
district, two kilometers from the historic city center. It is part of the
Green Gold Business & Shopping complex, which combines top
quality business premises and a shopping paradise with bars
and restaurants. The hotel was designed by the architectural
practice Studio BiF under the direction of Boris Fiolic, a very well
known architect in Croatia and Slovenia. It was he that designed
the Green Gold complex and has now designed the hotel to
fit seamlessly into its surroundings. With 152 rooms on seven
floors, a gym, swimming pool and sauna, as well as conference
rooms and a ballroom of more than 4,000 square meters, the
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Zagreb offers everything you would
expect from the tradition of the great name.
Here too it is the first impression that counts, so that guests feel
immediately at ease. Therefore, Boris Fiolic also attached great
importance to the design of the lobby in the Zagreb hotel. Highquality materials, warm colors and strategic lighting create an
elegant sense of well-being. Martina Kalśan, our customer in
Zagreb who has closely accompanied and supervised the project for almost one year is very satisfied with the result. ”This spatial impression is discreetly emphasized by NMC baseboards,
whose indirect light casts a soft shimmer on the walls, giving the
lobby and corridors visual spaciousness, a homely glow and a
touch of luxurious beauty.”
Capturing the light, making it sparkle or fanning it out
in all the colors of the rainbow – such are the magical effects
produced by the finest crystal. Such a game with the beauty of light can otherwise only be admired in gemstones. For
many centuries flawless cut glass – a privilege of the gentry
and rich merchants – was just as valuable. The art of glassmaking flourished during the Biedermeier period. At this time
a small town near Liège also began to grow to become the
center of Belgian glass production. In 1826 a crystal glassworks was founded in Val Saint Lambert Abbey in Seraing,
which was soon supplying monarchs and wealthy citizens
throughout the country and beyond its borders.
Today, the factory's master glassmakers are still working with
similar compositions and techniques as they did back then.
Wine glasses and vases, champagne glasses, candlesticks
and crystal sculptures – every piece is hand made, partly
mouth-blown, partly cast into shape, sometimes with colored
decoration, sometimes gilded or with exquisite engraving. The
production is an aesthetic experience in itself. Sand, potash
and sodium – this splendid crystal is made from these everyday ingredients using a process refined over several generations. The raw materials are amalgamated by heating them to
1400 degrees Celsius. Thirty hours later, the glass is removed
from the oven, incandescent and as pliable as hot wax.
Using a long-stemmed ladle, the master glassmaker skims off
a small quantity of the mixture. A unique piece gradually takes
shape: a vase blown by mouth in the tradition of Val Saint
Lambert. With a lot of feeling and perseverance, the glassmaker lends a perfectly round shape to the hot material. The
small work of art is sanded and polished as it cools down.
And this results in the unique sparkle, for which these Belgian
collectors' items are renowned.
For Val Saint Lambert no order is too big or too small. From
delicate animal miniatures to magnificent pieces as tall as a
man, customers always find here everything that their hearts
desire. As the only crystal glassworks of its type in the world,
the master craftsmen of Seraing are able to make prestigious
pieces to measure. They proudly recall a great historical feat:
in 1894 the glassmakers dedicated more than 2000 hours
to producing the "Vase of the Nine Belgian Provinces", which
was presented at the World Exhibition in Antwerp. This glass
sculpture is composed of more than 80 individual pieces,
measures 2.25 meters and, believe it or not, weighs 200 kilograms. Today it can be marveled at in the "Grand Curtius"
museum in Liège.
Somewhat smaller but of equally exceptional beauty, a sumptuous vase from the prestigious Kaléido Améthyste collection
has recently been produced and sent to Scandinavia. The delicate piece was chosen as an anniversary gift for an NMC
business partner in Finland. So that the fragile treasure would
arrive at its destination safe and sound, the Val Saint Lambert
vase was carefully packed up with NOMAPACK® profile sections, a light, shock-absorbing material. The master crystal
makers would most certainly have enjoyed seeing the sparkle of delight in the eyes of the recipient when the gift was
The nostalgic pleasure of driving
Absolutely everyone turns out to watch the parade go
past. More than 100 shiny chrome cars from bygone days
– here a Chrysler road cruiser, there a lemon yellow Renault
Alpine, a gigantic Citroën from the thirties, or a tiny Fiat Cinquecento from the sixties – one after the other they roll at a
leisurely pace through the streets of the small Belgian town of
Welkenraedt. The owners behind the wheel enjoy the looks
they get, laugh and wave to the spectators. They are lucky
with the weather. It is a warm July day, the blue sky dotted
with white clouds. The convoy is just reaching the end of the
annual classic car tour, the "Balade de Welekete", as the
small town is known in the vernacular. All the drivers are members of the Spa Rétromobile Club, an association of more
than 700 classic car enthusiasts from Belgium, Germany, the
Netherlands, France and Luxembourg. Since 1984 the club
has organized rallies and tours of old cars worldwide, all devotedly restored and maintained by their owners.
There are old cars. And then there are classic cars. The former are discontinued models, the latter are rarities. Enough
time has to pass before a car becomes a cult object, because
nostalgia comes with distance. The design and visual perception of the vehicle must have changed to the extent that it is
easily recognizable as being from an earlier era. Classic cars
are not old-fashioned, they are "retro". They take us back to
the era of our parents' youth or bring an unprecedented vitality, which we associate with movie icons such as Marlene Dietrich, James Dean or Sean Connery. Beautiful and difficult to
come by, the classic car makes its driver feel unique. And
everyone on the roadside gets the desire to climb in and
cruise around in the past at 40 miles per hour with the convertible top down.
The rally from Spa to Welkenraedt in July was all about the
pure pleasure of driving, about seeing and being seen. Only
classic cars restored to their original condition and at least 25
years old were admitted. The drivers followed a set route map
– with the help of a road book – and enjoyed the three-hour
tour through the splendid countryside of the Belgian-Dutch border region. The route bypassed some historic windmills, the
eldest of which is from the 17th century. Thanks to NMC, the
drivers were optimally equipped, since amongst other things
the sponsor donated baseball caps, which particularly stood
the convertible drivers in good stead.
Having arrived at the market place in Welkenraedt, things
got serious for the most ambitious car enthusiasts. Twenty
cars were entered in the "Concours d’Elegance", the club's
beauty contest. A panel comprised of seven experts and amateurs took a close look at the classic cars, assessing not
only aesthetics and faithfulness to the original, but also how
well they had been maintained. First prize did not go to a
sports car, a road cruiser or a classy sedan but to a utility
vehicle – a 1932 Citroën C4 that was once used as a taxi.
Once ordinary and now to be marveled at – the ultimate
proof that a bit of loving care can turn old things into something special.
The women nestle into the arms of the men. Dressed to kill
in their fine evening dress, the couples glide over the dance floor.
Tango, slow foxtrot, Viennese waltz – ballroom dancing is back in
fashion. Traditional balls are attracting young people just as much
as their parents. However, what looks light-footed in the ballroom
may sound like the background noise of a construction site on the
floor below. To prevent neighbors in hotels or apartment houses for
example from hearing every step as a dull thump, modern footfall
sound insulation is a must. Such sound insulation materials are also
part of the NMC range. The division grew at the beginning of
November 2012 when NMC took over the EPS parquet underlay
and thin wall insulation segment of the Belgian company Isomo.
Isomo expanded polystyrene (EPS) sheets and rolls ensure sound
insulation under the floor and optimum heat insulation under the
wallpaper. "The products are an ideal addition to our portfolio.
Footfall sound insulation as underlay beneath laminate and parquet, as well as insulating wallpapers, already formed part of our
offer", says product manager Brigitte Counotte. The advantage for
customers is that from now on they will have a still larger, one-stop
range of EPS, extruded polystyrene (XPS) and polyethylene (PE)
In order to be able to manufacture the EPS materials to the usual
quality, NMC has also taken over the production lines. During
a transitional period, NMC employees are being trained to use
the machines by specialist workers from Isomo. The NMC take-
over is also having a positive effect with regard to personnel, because new employees are being hired. In the opinion of company
management, the insulation material business is in good shape.
"High quality heat and sound insulation contributes to a feeling of
well-being everywhere", explains Stéphane Dalimier, manager of
NMC Schäfer GmbH and responsible Business Unit Manager.
"The customer avoids energy loss, optimizes the energy efficiency
of his house, saves money, helps to protect the environment – and
is assured peace and quiet from neighbors."
Through the ages
Beauty is subject to constant change – from the rising
sun to the cycle of the seasons to changes in beauty ideals for
fashion, people and art. Architecture has always been part of
this zeitgeist too. However, due to the many modern restoration
methods available, there is still plenty of evidence of earlier architecture around today. Each architectural era demonstrates
deep-rooted change, variation and recurrence of styles and just
as surprising constants, such as the theme of the golden section
that runs through every era for example. These proportions that
originate in nature were more or less consciously taken as a
basis for art and architecture – from the embodiment of Ancient
Greece, the Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis, to Florence
cathedral and Da Vinci's Last Supper of the Renaissance period, to the varied works of the famous Swiss architect and artist
Le Corbusier in the 20th century.
Yet even similar proportions still leave plenty of room for
change. In classic Greek antiquity there existed an architecture characterized by a harmonic form. Slender, elegant
columns replaced the blocky rigidity of archaic architectural
styles. Corinthian, Doric or Ionic ornamentation and capitals
give the buildings the ease of flowing forms. Many of these
stylistic elements were taken over by the Romans and combined with new innovations in building techniques. Whereas in Greece hardly any building exceeded two floors, the
Romans wanted to build higher. Round arches and vaults
prevailed, since they withstood larger loads and so enabled higher structures. The architecture of the middle ages
was characterized by magnificent churches. Everyday buildings were generally simple and functional. Independence
between art and culture firstly developed during the Renais-
sance. Ancient Roman ideals and styles were rediscovered
and man recognized his individual creative possibilities.
The balance of all things was the ideal of the Renaissance.
Knowledge of mathematics and nature studies was also
quite consciously integrated into art. The architecture of the
Renaissance demonstrates well-proportioned buildings with
clear forms and structures, which were ornamented with ancient motifs. Stucco elements with the ornamentation of this
time later made their arrival in public buildings and the living
quarters of rich industrialists.
At the start of the 20th century the idea of architectural
beauty changed yet again. At first Art Nouveau and Art
Deco had an influence on shapes and colors and in the end
their abstraction. Characteristic of Art Deco are linear, func-
tional forms and two-dimensional depictions of floral and
organic motifs. However, even this trend changed again.
Less is more – this is the beauty ideal of many architectural
projects today. The minimalism of the modern era is demonstrated through a simple language of shapes and esthetic reduction of artistic means. Nevertheless, the forms of ancient
Greece, the patterns of the Renaissance and other styles are
still present in contemporary interior design. With its large
selection of period decorative moldings, Corinthian columns
and Art Deco and minimalism style products, NMC enables a completely individual journey through time. Thanks to
NMC, past and modern architectural beauty ideals can be
newly interpreted to remain timeless.
Who is the fairest?
Mirror, mirror on the wall – children all over the world
learn from a young age to what extent mirrors have an effect on the lives of their occupants. Today we take for granted a glance in the mirror in the morning and there is hardly
a household that does not use at least one mirror. However,
in the Middle Ages, these shiny panes were extremely expensive. Only a few insiders knew the secret of how they were
made. Passing on the knowledge was forbidden under penalty of death. Mirrors were luxury items reserved only for the
rich and powerful of Venice, which was a stronghold of the
glass industry at the time. Legend has it that in the 17th century glassmakers from Italy were lured to the French court. Louis XIV, who was known as the Sun King because of his vanity,
had a hall in Palace of Versailles lined with around 300 mirrors. To this day this is an impressive testimony to the craftsmanship that was so sought-after at the time. The smooth glass
plates got their polished, distortion-free, reflective surface from
being covered with a low-melting metal such as tin or silver.
The traditional family business Deknudt Mirror Works from Belgium still uses a quite similar manufacturing process today. A
reflective coating is flawlessly applied to thin glass plates using an industrial chemical process.
The know-how of the company, which was founded in 1946,
is passed on from generation to generation and covers the
entire process from design to manufacture and finishing of
the frame to the silver coating of the mirror. Whether classic
or modern – the range of mirrors produced here knows no
boundaries. In addition to its own designs and productions,
mirrors from all over the world are also included in the collection. Deknudt Mirrors supplies famous customers worldwide,
among them luxury hotel chains such as Hilton, Marriott and
Kempinski as well as Disneyland Paris. As furnishings of hotels, apartments or businesses, mirrors make rooms look bigger and brighter.
Today we come across mirrors everywhere, in every business
and every household. They are no longer a luxury item – rather an indispensable companion to man and interior design.
In addition to the high quality workmanship and attractive design, the right packaging is also a crucial factor in ensuring
that the fragile product survives the journey from the manufacturer to the customer. For many years NMC NOMAPACK®
shock-absorbing profiles have been the packaging material of
choice for the Deknudt mirror manufacturer.
Who is Who?
After obtaining her university degree in industrial engineering, Eva Engström worked in the fashion industry at first.
Since then she has been working for NMC for almost ten years.
In her position as General Manager for NMC Norge AS and
Marketing & Sales Manager for NMC Cellfoam AB and NMC
Norge AS, one of her responsibilities is to build up and prepare
the company for the future.
>What makes you laugh?
Life, it is always surprising. It is unpredictable and full of small enjoyable things that make you laugh.
Above all else Eva Engström finds beauty in nature, and this during all seasons. In the autumn she can be found in the woods
gathering mushrooms with her husband Frederik and her fouryear-old son Sverre. As of late she has also been devoting her
free time to modeling works of art out of concrete.
>If you had three wishes what would you wish for?
For me personally I would wish for good health and vitality. For
our society I hope that some day there will be peace on our
>What kind of music do you like?
If I listen to music it is on the radio.
>Is there a book on your nightstand at the moment?
At the moment I am reading the biography of the Swedish national football player Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
>What did you last see at the movies?
It was Skyfall with Daniel Craig playing the part of James Bond
which I saw together with my sister.
>Do you do any sports?
A long time ago I was a very active swimmer. Now I try to keep
fit with running.
>What would you like to be doing in ten years time?
I cannot answer this question because I rarely plan several years
ahead. I live for the here and now. My plans mostly extend only
as far as the near future, so that I can have a direct influence on
putting them into practice.
>Your hopes for NMC?
I wish NMC and all its employees further success in the future.
>Who would you like to meet or would like to
have met in person?
My best friend would like to meet Tom Cruise and I would be
quite happy to join her.
22 - 23
Up here the sun does not shine, it glares. The wind does
not blow, it cuts right through you. On the high plain of Finnmark,
200 kilometers north of the polar circle, there is nothing between
heaven and earth except snow, ice, firn, and still more snow. It
is a gigantic nature painting, snow-white, untouched and breathtaking. In winter the days are short and the nights long. Plenty of
time for a spectacle that only a few people will actually ever see
with their own eyes – at rare moments, when electrically charged
particles from the cosmos enter the atmosphere, the Northern
Lights can be seen.
It is a fascinating but hostile world. Would you not have to be
completely mad to want to fight your way through deep snow,
over frozen lakes and endless glaciers on skies with 60 kilograms of luggage in tow? Fabian Hirschberger, Augustin Bossart
and Mike Fuchs see things differently. They forego every certainty of civilization for weeks at a time, undergo tremendous hardship – and in doing so get a feeling of freedom. "On a tour like
this you get to know yourself above all else", says Mike Fuchs. In
the Arctic winter he and his companions have experienced how
the force of nature sharpens the senses for true beauty. "In order
to return safely, we have to hear more, see more and feel more
than we would in normal life." The anticipation of this intensive
experience begins weeks before a tour, the adventurer tells us.
Then when he arrives in the far north, he greedily soaks up every
Mike Fuchs gave his name to the Fox Challenge, a series of expeditions along and around the Arctic Circle. Since 2010 the
winter sports enthusiast has undertaken extensive tours in cold
environments with a changing line-up of companions. In February and March of this year the three companions set out for
Finnmark, the most northern county of Norway. Temperatures of
minus 30 degrees Celsius and lower, up to force 8 storms and
energy-sapping deep snow were the extreme conditions that
awaited them. "The body needs three to four days to adjust to
the intense cold", says Fabian Hirschberger. The physical exertion made it easier to keep warm. "On the steep mountain passes our energy requirement was 6,000 to 8,000 calories per
day. We compensated for this in the evening with a large pot of
noodles and lots of chocolate."
The long nights gave them enough time to recover their strength,
provided that the cold did not creep into their sleeping bags with
them. The polar night was already drawing in at four in the afternoon. By then the hikers had to have set up camp and made
it storm-proof. With minus temperatures in the tent it was essential that they insulated their own body heat. The campers did not
feel the bitter cold ground thanks to special insulating mattresses,
which NMC had given them to take on the journey. By around
eight o'clock the team were lying down on them to sleep as if
they were in a summer camp on a lake. Getting up and getting
dressed took considerable will power, because in the morning
their snow boots were completely iced up.
The three men experienced many special moments, both individually and as a team. "With music in your ears, in a white world
without clearly fixed points, putting one foot in front of the other,
they were beautiful moments", recalls Augustin Bossart. His friend
Mike enthuses about the implicit understanding within the group,
"When you can rely on your team to get the tent put up in the
most violent storm, that is a wonderful feeling." Improving their
own instincts and being able to react quickly to new circumstances are valuable skills that the three homecomers take with them
into their everyday lives. With many unforgettable memories, life
in abundance feels much richer.
Season's Greetings !
Central theme of the next nmc-LIVE: Change
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Editor: NMC sa, Gert-Noël-Straße, 4731 Eynatten,
Belgium, Tel: +32 87 85 85-00, Fax: +32 87 85 85-11
Responsible editor: Hubert Bosten
(Responsible in the sense of the press law)
Editorial team: NMC sa, [email protected]
Production: impetus.PR, Agentur für Corporate
Communications GmbH, Aachen, Tel: +49 241-189 25-0,
Print: leën, Hasselt