By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A global company founded in France in 1665, now with its North American headquarters in the Philadelphia area, is promising to take visitors on quite a journey via an upcoming display.

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To celebrate its 350th birthday, Saint-Gobain, the world’s largest building materials manufacturer, is erecting five temporary pavilions on Eakins Oval, at the end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, for an exhibit called “Future Sensations.”

One pavilion contains numerous inlaid mirrors, a tribute to Saint-Gobain’s glassmaking, evoking the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles.

Another is a padded cube — a nod to the company’s acoustic performance materials such as you might find at the Kimmel Center or the Metropolitan Opera.

Today, on the steps of the Museum of Art, overlooking Eakins Oval, company spokesman Carmen Ferrigno said more than two dozen company products are being used in these constructions.

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“What you see is an artistic expression of mirrors, light, and sound — actual buildings we’re building on the Parkway,” he said.

Saint-Gobain has supplied materials used in the construction of the glass pyramid outside the Louvre, in the Statute of Liberty, and even in components for the Mars Rover.

It takes ten days to set up for the eight-day show, and another five days to break down the exhibit.  The free exhibit will be on display only May 30th through June 6th, before leaving for Paris.  The touring exhibit’s only previous stops were Shanghai, China and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Saint-Gobain has its North American headquarters in Valley Forge, soon to relocate in Malvern.


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