New perspective

La Samaritaine, one of Paris’s most famous department stores, worked closely with Pritzker prize-winning architecture practice SANAA to create a striking and sinuous modern facade that gives a new perspective on the historic Rue de Rivoli.

Glass for the project was supplied by Pilkington Glass Service, part of the NSG Group. The facade is part of a wider 750 million-euro 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 and Reifer to design and deliver the facade, which is made from 343 individual curved and laminated panels.

The panes come in 23 different shapes and sizes across the facade and weigh between 600kg and 1,250kg. Despite their weight, they are each held in place by just four stainless steel fixings to achieve the minimal, flush profile.

The curves provide passers-by with ever-changing new perspectives on the surrounding architecture of the Rue de Rivoli, one of Paris’ most famous 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 facade were free from any colour from the glass – and to enhance outward views for occupants of the building – Pilkington Optiwhite low-iron glass was specified.