Pilkington Glass Service helps Paris department store be the height of architectural style

  • 25 Nov 2021

La Samaritaine, one of Paris’ most famous department stores, has worked closely with Pritzker prize-winning architecture practice SANAA to create a striking and sinuous modern façade that gives a new perspective on the historic Rue de Rivoli. The project’s glass supply was via the Pilkington Glass Service, part of the NSG Group.

The façade is part of a wider €750 million renovation of the landmark site in a bid to create a world-leading luxury retail, entertainment and hospitality hub, which stands a short walk away from The Louvre.

SANAA worked with curved glass specialist Cricursa and glazing engineers FRENER & REIFER to design and deliver the ground-breaking façade, which is made from 343 individual curved and laminated panels.


The panes come in 23 different shapes and sizes across the façade and weigh between 600 and 1250 kg. Despite their weight, they are each held in place by just four stainless steel fixings in order to achieve the minimal, flush profile the architect was looking for.

Outstanding clarity

The curves provide passers-by with intriguing and ever-changing new perspectives on the much-loved surrounding architecture of the Rue de Rivoli, one of Paris’ most famous and celebrated streets.

This effect is heightened by a reflective chromium coating that was applied before the glass was laminated.

To ensure the reflections visible in the façade were free from any colour from the glass – and to enhance outward views for occupants of the building – Pilkington Optiwhite™ low-iron glass features.

Marc Amah, technical manager at Pilkington Glass Service, comments: “Glass has been used on this project not only to define the building itself but also to give an exciting new perspective on the heritage architecture that surrounds it.

“La Samaritaine showcases the benefits of Pilkington Optiwhite™ – with its extraordinary clarity and natural colour balance – in one of the world’s most glamorous and architecturally rich locations.”

Curved glass specialist Cricursa has helped deliver some of the most iconic glazed buildings of recent years, including One Blackfriars in London, the Emporia shopping mall in Malmö, Sweden and the Thomas Heatherwick-designed Bombay sapphire gin distillery in Hampshire, UK.

The designated historic landmark sits on the right bank in the heart of the 1st arrondissement, between the Rue de Rivoli and the Quai du Louvre. La Samaritaine, one of Paris’ celebrated grands magasins (department stores) first opened in 1870 and grew over the years to encompass four buildings and over 48,000 square metres of retail space.

To read about Pilkington running a whole furnace on a hydrogen blend, click here.


Pilkington United Kingdom Limited,
Greengate Works,
Sherdley Road,
St. Helens,
United Kingdom,
WA9 5 DZ

Phone: 01744 692000
Fax: 01744 692569

Visit Pilkington Building Products' website

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