Frantz Jourdain (3 October 1847 – 22 August 1935) was a Belgian architect and author. He is best known for La Samaritaine, an Art Nouveau department store built in the 1st arrondissement of Paris in three stages between 1904 and 1928. He was respected as an authority on Art Nouveau. He was a great admirer of the Galerie des machines of the Exposition Universelle (1889), designed by Ferdinand Dutert and Victor Contamin.
La Samaritaine, a department store, was founded by Ernest Cognacq in 1870 when he leased a small part of a building for commercial use. He then bought the building and in 1885 he engaged Jourdain to redesign the original building. In 1904 Cognacq decided to expand the store. Jourdain was given the job of creating the maximum amount of space as quickly and cheaply as possible, and designed a radical steel structure.
The flamboyant exterior decoration was executed by his son, the decorator Francis Jourdain, the painter Eugène Grasset, the metalworker Edouard Schenck and the ceramist Alexandre Bigot. His use of glass and an exposed steel frame in this design was both radical and functional.
La Semeuse de Paris was built between 1910 and 1912 to house the credit department of La Samaritaine department stores for lending to the poorest customers. In 1925 Cognacq was authorized to construct a second building. Jourdain and Henri Sauvage began work in January 1926, and completed it in September 1928 after many changes from the original plan. At the request of the prefecture the steel frame was given a cream-colored stone exterior.
After a renovation as ambitious as faithful to the history of the place, and which lasted 15 years (!), the new department store la Samaritaine Paris Pont-Neuf reopened its doors to the public on June 23, 2021.
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