Composition and Application of Cimorné Finish: An Interwar Cement Render Decorated with Coloured Opalescent Glass Granules

  • Liesbeth DekeyserEmail author
  • Laurent Fontaine
  • Ann Verdonck
  • Hilde De Clercq


A Walloon entrepreneur developed and patented Cimorné cement render at the beginning of the 1930s in Braine-l’Alleud (south of Brussels, Belgium). This peculiar façade finish consists of a pigmented multilayer cement mortar onto which opalescent and mass coloured glass granules were projected. Cimorné became popular in the interwar period and was available in a variety of (very bright) colours, depending on the global hue of the added opalescent glass granules. Local craftsmen developed in their characteristic manner application techniques, mixing the mortar of the cimorné render, based on a Portland cement mortar, on-site. Minor information is available about the cimorné technique, a regional applied finish of which the characteristics, formula and application method were mainly orally transmitted between craftsmen. Hence, knowledge about the cement mortar, its cement-sand ratio, granulometry, etc. is crucial and prior to durable repair and restoration campaigns. Interviews with retired plasterers revealed relevant information about the original formula, preparation on-site and application method. The information related to the cimorné craftsmanship was compared to data found in archival records, patents and interwar plastering and masonry manuals on the one hand and to results from laboratory analyses of mortar samples lifted on-site on the other hand. The overall results form the basis for restoration trials, which will be carried out on-site, in order to enable future durable and sustainable repair interventions of this peculiar Art Deco cement render.


Cement render Interwar period Opalescent glass Mason manuals Laboratory analyses 



The authors would like to thank Laurent Pays, Romano Tondat, Gilbert Schoonheydt, Françoise Lombaers and Claire Fontaine.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liesbeth Dekeyser
    • 1
    Email author
  • Laurent Fontaine
    • 2
  • Ann Verdonck
    • 1
  • Hilde De Clercq
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Architectural EngineeringVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Monument LaboratoryRoyal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA)BrusselsBelgium

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