Sophia Antipolis 50th anniversary

Celebrating 50 years of innovation together

Throughout 2019, Europe’s 1st technology park celebrated its fiftieth anniversary with four major events involving the Sophia Antipolis community and a number of ancillary events.

The events celebrated 50 years of innovation and economic development in the area, promoting the technology park and its strategic sectors (artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, travel technologies, health and sport technologies, biotechnologies and yachting) and asserting its position of excellence among science and technology parks worldwide.

Key events

The human logo

1,800 Sophia Antipolis employees, business leaders, students, economic partners, elected officials and residents came together on 1st March 2019 at Bouillides Stadium from midday to 1:45 to create a human logo featuring the colours chosen to mark the technology park’s 50th anniversary.

A drone took an aerial image of the human logo, which was both a fun and unifying initiative marking the official launch of Europe’s leading technology park’s 50th anniversary festivities, and Europe’s 1st technology park and also providing a snapshot of Sophia Antipolis and its 2019 ecosystem – an open, collaborative laboratory and a global pioneer of cross-fertilisation.

The event was made possible thanks to collaboration with Valbonne Sophia Antipolis town, Sophia Club Entreprises and Team Côte d’Azur.

Landmark Day

A special day of celebrations marking the technology park’s 50th anniversary was held on Thursday 13 June 2019 for the general public. The day was split into 3 parts:

  1. Inauguration of an exhibition about the technology park, with a number of information stands retracing the history of Sophia Antipolis, its features and its values. The exhibition was held in Place Bermond, at the heart of the technology park, and ran until 20 December 2019
  2. A conference about the impact of new technologies and their role in tomorrow’s society, with talks by specialists in the fields of research, innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as human and social sciences. The event, which took place on the Skema Business School campus, welcomed Pierre Laffitte, the 94-year-old founder of Sophia Antipolis and 400 participants.
  3. A cocktail reception for territorial stakeholders (business leaders, economic partners and elected officials), to celebrate the technology park’s 50th anniversary with the people who make Sophia Antipolis what it is each day.

New visual identity

At a press conference organised at the Sophia Antipolis Business Cluster on Monday 9 September 2019, SYMISA and CASA unveiled – in the presence of the entire Sophia Antipolis ecosystem – Sophia Antipolis’ new visual identity, designed by Claude Gottlieb, Creative Director of the Branding Brandsilver agency.

> A collective approach

Through a series of interviews, collaborative workshops and an online survey about the technology park, the entire ecosystem (research centres, academia, start-ups, SMEs, large groups and institutional partners) was called upon. The initiative was conducted with respect for the values we hold dear: representativity, parity and intergenerational encounters.

> Symbolism

Sophia Antipolis’ new logo depicts the Goddess Athena, the technology park’s historical emblem, a symbol of the origins of the park and of its future. Athena embodies wisdom and reason, while providing a sobering and serene insight, a reflection of the futuristic vision of Sophia Antipolis since its beginnings fifty years ago. The logo combines continuity (origins) and modernity (future) while evoking the effusive ideas of the innovation laboratory which is Sophia Antipolis – like a buzzing mind.

Time capsule

The Time Capsule was unveiled at the closing ceremony of the Sophia Antipolis 50th anniversary festivities.

At the end of the year, contributions from the area’s various economic players (start-ups, companies, associations, institutional partners and academics) were collected (images, objects, documents and testimonials) and placed inside the capsule.

It will be housed at the future Innovation Cluster, the technology park’s future host venue, fostering entrepreneurship, business creation, innovation and coordination of the ecosystem. Pending its delivery in 2023, the capsule is on display at the Business Cluster, 1047 Route des Dolines, Allée Pierre Ziller, 06560 Valbonne Sophia Antipolis.

Closing ceremony

The closing ceremony took place on 19 December 2019 at the Centre International de Valbonne, in the presence of the Sophia Antipolis ecosystem.

The purpose of the event was to:

  1. Reflect on 2019 and the key events which were organised,
  2. Seal the time capsule, safeguarding the items and information about this year of celebrations, for a journey through time aimed at future generations for the opening of the technology park’s centenary celebrations in 2069.
  3. Take a group photo marking the Sophia Antipolis’ 50th anniversary, in the presence of all the technology park’s partners and key players.

thank you to all the contributors