08 Jun 2021 • Retail
Paris’s historic La Samaritaine department store reemerges, restored as a mixed-use space
Decoration and Design (Hotel)
Peter Marino, OAL, Maison Edouard François
Design (Department Store)
Yabu Pushelberg, Agence de création Malherbe Paris, Studio Ciguë
Historical Monument Architecture
Design (Social Housing, Crèche)
Executive Project Management
Client (Global Project Delivery)
Grands Magasins de La Samaritaine
Client (Hotel Cheval Blanc Paris)
LVMH Hotel Management
Client (Department Store)
The LVMH Group-owned Art Nouveau and Art Deco landmark incorporates 20,000 sq-m of retail space, ten restaurants, a hotel, offices, crèche, housing complex and 10,000 sq-m of reclassified streets and sidewalks.
Founded in 1870, La Samaritaine – comprising a heritage-listed Art Nouveau building finished in 1911 and a 1928 Art Deco structure – closed its doors in 2005, the beginning of a 15-year-long renovation that has now reached a conclusion. The restoration work, led by Japanese architectural firm Sanaa, spanned 70,000 sq-m and reestablishes the landmark – a short walk from the Louvre – as a central point of Parisian life and culture. La Samaritaine’s undulating outer façade is constructed of 343 curved, screen-printed glass panels, and its icons, including a 1,000 sq-m glass roof, 600 m of ironwork, myriad ceramic decorative elements, plasterwork, 37 skylights, glass floors and painted frescoes, have all been meticulously revived.
The retail environment is accompanied by a 72-room, Peter Marino-designed hotel framed as a private residence, a 96-apartment social housing complex, six levels of offices and a 1,000 sq-m nursery, as well as myriad hospitality venues. The reclassified streets enabled the creation of a 5,000-sq-m public square as well. All in all, 3,000 people and 280 French companies were involved in seeing the project to completion. ‘We had to define which elements of the building itself actually qualified as heritage items,’ explains historical monuments architect Jean-François Lagneau, ‘so that we could preserve them and pass them on to future generations, ensuring that they too can enjoy the features that have so much to tell us about two key periods in our history.’
The collaboration necessary to execute a project of this scale is testimony to its role as a community fixture. Heritage buildings are many in the City of Light, but La Samaritaine blends old world and new world masterfully: it is an homage not only to classical craftsmanship, but that of today’s artisans, makers, designers and architects – every inch of the building reveals respect for technique, beauty and the design language which defines the metropole. Reflecting the city back on itself, the façade is even further tribute to Paris’s past, present and future.