Outokumpu has been awarded the contract to supply stainless steel cladding materials for Hotel de Region, a major public building in Nantes, France. Once completed at the beginning of 2011, the building will be a notable addition to contemporary stainless architecture. The project represents Outokumpu’s largest project in the architecture, building and construction cluster in France to date. The skin of Hotel de Region is supplied by Sofradi, a France-based company that manufactures metal curtain walls among its many specialties. With little previous experience in stainless steel, Sofradi contacted Outokumpu prior to winning the curtain wall contract. Sofradi had a number of challenges, which were met by Outokumpu. First, the aesthetic qualities are of utmost importance in stainless steel cladding. To achieve uniform reflection of light, stainless steel panels must have a highly consistent finish – otherwise the surface will have a blotchy appearance. Outokumpu’s 4N surface finish fulfills the demanding aesthetic needs of Hotel de Region. Equally, the attractiveness of the initial structure needs to last. Nantes’ maritime climate increases susceptibility to discoloration, so Sofradi required strong technical assistance to select the right stainless material. Finally, the project has exacting service requirements. The construction process means that stainless steel sheets have to be supplied in regular batches, provided with protective plastic coating. These challenges are met by Outokumpu’s stock and processing capabilities. After a joint effort by Sofradi, the building’s architectural firm FORMA6 and Outokumpu to select the right stainless steel grade, Sofradi opted for the molybdenum-containing austenitic grade 1.4404 (316L).