Louis Marien, the founder of the company in 1890 was already ahead of the market when he expanded his original building business to saw-milling timber
for his own needs. Through the years he and his son were able to build 40.000 green-houses in the area of Hoeilaart, famous throughout all of Europe for its
wonderful grapes. Additionally, he produced up to 15.000 grape boxes each day.
His son, Charles, a renown architect, succeeded him after the First World War. He expanded the business to include the design and construction of the typical "grape-farmer house" with their peaked roofs surmounted by a little terrace which can still be seen
today in the grape country.
Charles’s son, Albert, took up another challenge after the Second World War. He decided to leave this market, which was more and more under pressure from imported grapes, and to specialise in a promising product: peeled and sliced veneer
for plywood and furniture. An enlightened decision as the furniture industry was just discovering the many advantages of peeled veneer in achieving curved shapes and sliced veneer for its appearance and surface finishing.
In the Sixties followed another development: the company started its own production of plywood and blockboard, either veneered or film faced. Then another breakthrough: chipboard! Surfaced with real wood veneer it was proclaiming lower prices… and a new fashion. In the following decade, under the direction of Charles Marien, and a market progressing away from veneered plywood and blockboard to veneered chipboard. And, more
recently, to veneered MDF, a contemporary speciality where the company, under the current Direction, has become a market leader in Europe through its flagship company Finaspan.
The last revolution is placed under the flag of innovation: the veneer world, under the threat of plastic, cheaper but also easier to implement, demands better worked out products. This means the start of de new product ranges of lacquered boards, ready for use, and of the tactile products where the wooden structure is emphasized in its whole beauty.
With the years, veneer evolved toward a luxury product where structure, colour and pattern are of utter importance. Contact with fitters, architects and end-customers lays now at the basis of our job. Everything is produced in total transparancy: from the selection of the veneer to the jointing of the layons. The result are magnificent projects where wood is put on its deserved spot.
The history of Finaspan, through the one of Marien group, illustrates three characteristics which form an integral part of the company and its family: anticipation of market changes, adaptation, and fidelity to craftsmanship accumulated through many generations. Love for wood runs indeed as an aphorism through the story of the company for 125 years and keeps the promise for the future.