LVMH, a company we usually associate with great beauty and creativity, will be disappointed to discover that the Paris administrative court does not share its view on what’s aesthetically pleasing. The conglomerate’s plans to renovate Parisian department store La Samaritaine have been halted with the court withdrawing the construction permit required, on the grounds that the building is aesthetically “dissonant”.
The ruling was in response to a motion filed by the Society for the Protection of Landscape and Aesthetics of France, which is opposed to the project.
“La Samaritaine wishes to express its total surprise upon reading a ruling based solely on aesthetic considerations, and therefore entirely subjective, regarding the work of one of the world’s most celebrated architects, winner of a Pritzker Prize, architecture’s equivalent of a Nobel Prize. This ruling creates a worrying precedent for any even remotely innovating renovation project in Paris. This interpretation of town planning rules is incompatible with a modern vision of the city, and would not have allowed some of the most symbolic buildings of our capital to see the light of day.” said representatives for La Samaritaine.
The renovation project is expected to create over 2,000 jobs and the decision comes as a major blow to LVMH. The company had previously been given the go ahead by the ”architecte des Bâtiments de France,” which is the body responsible for maintaining historic monuments and ensuring that all new constructions respect housing quality.
According to Vogue, Paris City Hall will ask for the court decision to be suspended, so that work can continue, pending an appeal.
More to come on this one!