La Samaritaine restoration: Iconic design and the latest safety standards 

Located in the heart of Paris, La Samaritaine is one of the city’s most iconic department stores. When LVMH Group set about restoring the beautiful building, it faced a major challenge: how to marry the latest safety requirements with the building’s classic Art Nouveau and Art Deco design.

Our solution was a passive fire protection coating system based on Hempacore One. Applied to structural steel, Hempacore One expands when exposed to high heat to insulate the steel beneath. In a fire, this can extend the steel’s load-bearing capacity for up to three hours, giving valuable extra time for evacuation and emergency response.

Importantly, Hempacore One can be applied in thin layers and overcoated with any colour. This enabled LVMH Group’s architects to create a renovation that meets the latest safety standards, while preserving La Samaritaine’s iconic design.

Opened in 1870, La Samaritaine department store was the centre of Parisian chic for over 100 years. In 1990, its main shop was officially listed as a ‘supplementary’ French historic building. But in June 2005, La Samaritaine was forced to close for safety reasons. LVMH Group bought the building in 2010 and one year later unveiled a grand refurbishment plan that would preserve the building for posterity and, once again, see it open to the public.

The challenge

LVMH’s refurbishment plan for the 70,000 m2 building included offices, major new stores, a Cheval Blanc luxury hotel, a childcare centre and facilities that the whole community could enjoy.

The challenge was to solve the building’s safety issues while maintaining its classic Art Nouveau and Art Deco design. LVMH’s solution involved replacing the glass flooring with cement, restoring the huge glass roof and reinforcing the glass and metal facades. In addition, it needed a passive fire protection system to extend the structural steel’s load-bearing capacity if a fire broke out, giving extra time for building evacuation. This is where we came in.

The solution

We specified a three-coat passive fire protection system comprising a Hempadur Mastic 45880 primer, Hempacore One 43600 and a Hempathane HS 55610 topcoat. The system was applied by ROTH & Cie, a specialist paint application and surface treatment company that we have worked with for many years.

A one-component intumescent, Hempacore One offers up to 180 minutes of cellulosic fire protection in interior and exterior conditions up to C4. Importantly for architects and paint applicators, due to its lower loadings, Hempacore One can also be applied in a thinner layer than other intumescent coatings on the market, meaning application times are shorter and the end results have a more natural look.


At a glance




Project La Samaritaine restoration 
 Owner LVMH, a leading luxury products group with a retail network of over 4,500 stores worldwide 
 Applicator ROTH & Cie, a specialist paint application and surface treatment company 
Coating system

Hempadur Mastic 45880
Hempacore One 43600
Hempathane HS 55610