Galeries Lafayette Dome
S Godard

A Flower Unfolds Under the Cover of Night

Saflex as Manufacturers

Restoration of Galeries Lafayette dome adds light and protection to Art Nouveau bloom.After more than two years of extensive restoration, the glass dome at Galeries Lafayette’s flagship department store on 40 Boulevard Haussmann was completed in May 2021. As the department store is among Paris’s main attractions — drawing in 37 million visitors annually — all of the restoration work was completed at night under the guidance of Perrot & Richard Architects, a Parisian firm specializing in historical building renovation including the Grand Palais. That project was completed in the early 2000's and featured overhead glazing made of laminated glass with 20K m² of Saflex® Clear PVB interlayer.

photo_credit S Godard
S Godard

For the Galeries Lafayette dome’s restoration, solar control and transparency were top priorities. The exterior envelope protects the original stained glass cupola, so a transparent protective glazing with excellent clarity was required. The renovation team had a choice between three to four products, including Saflex® Solar SG41 and SH41. Saflex Solar SH41 was eventually chosen for its balanced combination of solar performance and neutrality while maintaining the safety benefits of laminated glass.

The interior overhead glazing of the Galeries Lafayette dome was built in 1912 and features Art Nouveau stained glass panels in the form of a flower. The 10 oversized sections stretch over a total of 1000 m² in rich tones of gold, red and blue interspersed with clear panels featuring ornate ironwork. The original design was a collaborative effort by Ferdinand Chanut, who was responsible for the geometry and structure; Jacques Grüber, who created the beautiful stained glass; and Louis Majorelle, who fashioned the intricate ironwork.

Untouched for more than a century while the rest of the store received expansions such as floor additions, electrical work and plumbing, it was time to give attention to the dome. One of the main focus was to restore more of the natural light entering the dome that was lost due to the expansions. Extensive waterproofing was another requirement, as well as solar protection. Finally, programmable lighting and motorized hoisting points were installed for staging events.

The new overhead glazing consists of flat glass made by Dania, France, and curved glass. For the flat panes, façade manufacturer Mtechbuild, France, used 44.4 tempered glass laminated with Saflex® Solar SH41 interlayer. For the curved panes, 66.4 tempered glass laminated with Saflex® Solar SH41 interlayer was used. The clear PVB interlayer was recommended by C-E-VIT Glass Consultant because it will provide years of protection for the dome’s interior stained glass masterpiece. While other options were presented, the use of Saflex® Solar SH41 provides a pure light while providing improved solar performance.

photo_credit S Godard
S Godard

Work on the entire project occurred during the night under the protection of a 40 m x 40 m covering of the entire building — one of the largest umbrella ever installed. The restoration of the dome required removal of the existing glass followed by six weeks to install new panels ranging from 3.2 m long x 0.5 m wide maximum then decreasing in dimensions depending on placement. Simultaneously, the interior stained glass and decorative ironwork was removed, cleaned, replaced if necessary, and new leading provided for the stained glass.

The Galeries Lafayette spans 70,000 m² (750,000 sq. ft.) over eight open levels. While the dome can be viewed from numerous locations, perhaps the most breathtaking view is from the middle of the ground floor, staring up into the dazzling glass cupola. Now with a protective exterior façade with solar control and the extremely fine clarity, the true colors of the dome can be enjoyed for years to come!

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