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The Printemps warehouses are one of the finest early 20th century buildings in Clichy, marking the importance of industry in the town’s urban development.
In the early 20th century, the Grands Magasins du Printemps Company of Paris was growing rapidly. In 1905, it had just embarked on building the “Nouveau Printemps” store, with work completed in 1910.
Printemps already had a carpet-beating shed in Clichy and decided to extend these premises.
The building was erected opposite Denain Park (now Roger Salengro Park), between 1908 and 1910 by architects Papinot & Simonet using new techniques devised by engineer François Hennebique (1842-1921), who invented reinforced concrete.F. Hennebique designed the concrete structure. The decorator, Alexandre Bigot, a much-acclaimed Art Nouveau ceramics artist, decorated the outside walls. He worked with Hector Guimard and Jules Lavirotte.
Bigot decorated the facade with effects created by the metal and brick structures, with the company’s name in ceramics on the curved pediment, and yellow and blue glazed stoneware tiling. The left bay is formed by a single arch and features three all-steel floors.
The style of the left third of the building, erected in 1923, is period, in keeping with the Art Deco movement of the day. Right-angled concrete supplants the circular metal arches. This addition is the work of architects Demoisson and Wybo. The latter became famous with his colleague Lefranc, when they built the George V hotel in Paris. This extension was built to house horses and carriages.
The building was designed to be fully modifiable and was used successively as a goods warehouse, a factory workshop and as offices.
In 1939, the 3195 glass panels of the “Printemps Haussmann” dome in Paris, made in 1923 by the master glassmaker Brière, were removed and placed in safety in the warehouse basement in Clichy.
After the risks of air raids on the capital subsided, they were forgotten. It was not until 1973 that the windows were recovered and reinstalled.
Brière’s grandson restored the Dome using the original plans, which had been preserved in the family workshop. With a height of 16 metres and a diameter of 20 metres, it returned the building to all its former splendour.