Art@Site Georges Chedanne Galeries Lafayette

Georges Chedanne


Galeries Lafayette

Boulevard Haussmann
Theophile Bader entrusted the first major refurbishments of Boulevard Haussmann, completed in 1907, to architect Georges Chedanne. It was only really in 1912, however, spurred on by his apprentice Ferdinand Chanut, that the store began to take on a new dimension.
The flagship Galeries Lafayette store was unveiled in all its glory at its inauguration in October 1912. Theophile Bader dreamed of creating a 'luxury bazaar' where the sheer abundance and luxury of the merchandise on offer would wow the crowds! Golden light, filtered through the domed roof, would flood the grand hall and set the products aglow. The gamble had paid off.
Ferdinand Chanut called upon great artists from the ecole de Nancy to decorate this magnificent building in the style of Paris Art Nouveau. The banister of the magnificent staircase, inspired by the Paris Opera House, was designed by Louis Majorelle, who is also credited with the ironwork featured on the balconies. The dome, rising to a height of 43 metres, soon became the iconic symbol of Galeries Lafayette. Master glass-maker Jacques Gruber was responsible for designing the Neo-byzantine style stained glass windows.
The sales floor had suddenly doubled in size, but the innovations didn’t stop there! A tea room, reading room and smoking room were then added to complement the 96 existing departments. As more department stores began to appear, shopping was becoming a leisure activity. At the very top of the building, the rooftop terrace offered a panoramic view of Paris. The store began organising special events much to the delight of an entertainment-hungry clientele, including the now famous rooftop landing by Jules Vedrines in 1919. The aviator was fined for flying too low over Paris, but gained lifelong notoriety as the first ever rebel in aviation history.