HDA : FACADE ENGINEER
CLIENT : DRUGSTORE PUBLICIS
ARCHITECT : BUILDING INC. LOS ANGELES
HDA TEAM 1 | Glass Screens 2002-2004 | Hugh Dutton, Frédéric Bidji Odzili (Project Leader), Carla Zaccheddu, Jason Mahfouf.
HDA TEAM 2 | ECA2 Lighting 2013 | Hugh Dutton, Mitsu Edwards (Project Leader), Gaëtan Kohler, Yan Yan.
DATE : 2001-2004
The main headquarters of the Publicis group is located at the top of the Champs Elysées, and its ground-floor café, cinema, and news-shop facility, named ‘Drugstore Publicis’, has become a popular Paris icon. To celebrate recent expansions, the Publicis chairman, Maurice Levy, decided to give the 1970’s building a facelift. The invitation-only competition was won by Los Angeles architect, Michele Saee.
Saee’s design was for a musical composition of freeform curved glass shards that contrast with, and revitalise, the existing facade in reflective bronze glass, which had to stay. The surfaces were without any orthogonal components or straight lines, a counterpoint to the rectilinear grid of the façade behind.
HDA was brought in by Saee to develop a structural system for the screens which he had laid out across the 15m-high façade. We proposed primary tubes to span 10m in sinuous curves between the main columns, and secondary profiles, curved ‘sabres’ in extruded stainless steel, to support the curved glass using edge profiles in structural silicone. A three-dimensional sculptural piece, twisted like a whirlwind, marks the principal corner
entrance to the building. Café terrace shelters and shopfront glazing complete the ensemble.
The curved panels were fabricated in annealed laminated low-iron glass. HDA’s work included the re-definition of all glass surfaces, according to strict mathematical principles of developable cylindrical or conical forms. This development of close-tolerance geometric predictability was imperative to the success of the critical interface between the freeform curved glass panels and their ‘sabre’ structural supports.