The founding of SOCRA
SOCRA was founded in 1964 near Pau, in Jurançon, by Claude Bassier, a consulting engineer. In the beginning, the company benefited from the support of the State, in particular the sub-directorate of archaeology of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, which wanted to be able to rely on the company to save ancient remains, in particular mosaics.
From a core business originally centred on mosaics, the activity has gradually expanded to other materials. First of all metal, with the creation in 1979 of a centre for the restoration of monumental metal works, whether in copper, bronze, cast iron or lead. This expertise is illustrated by the restoration in the early 2000s of the fountains of the seas and rivers of the Place de la Concorde in Paris.
Development in the Vinci Group
In 1990, the company was bought by Dumez and from 1998 onwards became part of the Vinci group. Patrick Palem, director of the company from 1990 until 2019, helped train many restorers. Prestigious projects were carried out during this period, such as the restoration of the Récipon quadrigas in the Grand Palais, or the restoration of the coffered ceiling of the Arc de Triomphe.
Acquisition by the Ateliers de France group and development of the company
In 2018, the Ateliers de France group, which specialises in heritage restoration and decoration, acquired SOCRA. The management team was renewed and is now composed of Nicolas Chupin, president, and Richard Boyer, general manager.
The 'UAS' of ancient remains
In the beginning, SOCRA specialised in the restoration of Gallo-Roman and medieval mosaics discovered during excavations for the construction of buildings. Claude Bassier himself described the company as the "UAS" of ancient remains. SOCRA acquired a 600 m² building in Périgueux to store and restore these mosaics. SOCRA restored the mosaics of the church of the Ganagobie priory and the mosaic of the victorious athletes of Vienna.
Expertise in stone was also gradually developed in the 1980s and 1990s. Then, the development of expertise in gypsum (staff) and fake marble (stucco) enabled SOCRA to become a key restoration workshop due to the scope of its work. The work on the Hall of Mirrors at the Château de Versailles, where SOCRA was involved in restoring the marble facings, was an example of this.
The purchase of the company in 2014 by the then director and his partner (Patrick Palem and Thierry Civetta) allowed the company to become independent again. This independence was an opportunity to develop the modern and contemporary art division.
The emphasis is on diversifying the business, with a strengthening of the know-how in the production of works for contemporary artists. The company is also continuing to focus on its expertise in restoring stone, metal and mosaic decorations, with emblematic projects such as the restoration of the statues of the apostles and evangelists in Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris and the enamelled lava in the Samaritan.
Our locations & equipment
SOCRA has 1200m² of workshop space and 600m² of offices in Périgueux dedicated to the storage, restoration and production of works of art.
We also have an office in Puteaux in the Île-de-France region to liaise with the heritage community in Paris.
Our equipment: 2 and 6 ton overhead travelling crane, 40m² drying oven, workshop compressor, generator, soldering station, vacuum pump, microscope, Leica binocular, demineraliser...
Living Heritage Company
The EPV label is a distinction that is awarded every 5 years, after a rigorous selection process, and which values trades related to art and culture, due to their advanced working methods, the rarity of their equipment, and their cultural significance. SOCRA has been labelled since 2017.
Group of companies for the restoration of historical monuments
The GMH is a professional association of heritage restoration companies. SOCRA is actively involved in the GMH to defend the know-how and qualifications of the companies in the sector and to encourage their transmission.
Discover our know-how and our projects on the pdf catalogue