The advertising architecture of the Marbeuf garage (Laprade & Bazin, 1928-1929)

The advertising architecture of the Marbeuf garage (Laprade & Bazin, 1928-1929)

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  • Garage Marbeuf, seen in perspective from rue Marbeuf.

  • Letter on commercial paper from the Marbeuf garage to A. Laprade, June 25, 1929

  • Photograph of the Marbeuf garage: exterior night view with electric lighting test.

  • Photograph of the Marbeuf garage: interior night view with electric lighting test.

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Title: Garage Marbeuf, seen in perspective from rue Marbeuf.

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Creation date : 1928

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Technique and other indications: Ink and wash drawing

Storage location: Historic Center of the National Archives website

Contact copyright: © Historic Center of the National Archives - Photography workshop

Garage Marbeuf, seen in perspective from rue Marbeuf.

© Historic Center of the National Archives - Photography workshop

To close

Title: Letter on commercial paper from the Marbeuf garage to A. Laprade, June 25, 1929

Author :

Creation date : 1929

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Storage place: Historic Center of the National Archives website

Contact copyright: © Historic Center of the National Archives - Photography workshop

Letter on commercial paper from the Marbeuf garage to A. Laprade, June 25, 1929

© Historic Center of the National Archives - Photography workshop

To close

Title: Photograph of the Marbeuf garage: exterior night view with electric lighting test.

Author :

Creation date : 1929

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Storage location: Historic Center of the National Archives website

Contact copyright: © Historic Center of the National Archives - Photography workshop

Photograph of the Marbeuf garage: exterior night view with electric lighting test.

© Historic Center of the National Archives - Photography workshop

To close

Title: Photograph of the Marbeuf garage: interior night view with electric lighting test.

Author :

Creation date : 1929

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Storage location: Historic Center of the National Archives website

Contact copyright: © Historic Center of the National Archives - Photography workshop

Photograph of the Marbeuf garage: interior night view with electric lighting test.

© Historic Center of the National Archives - Photography workshop

Publication date: November 2003

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The advertising architecture of the Marbeuf garage (Laprade & Bazin, 1928-1929)

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Historical context

The era of the automobile

In the 1920s, if the automobile industry experienced an exceptional boom after the First World War, the automobile remained a luxury item. The construction of several garages, in the emblematic district of the Champs-Elysées, reveals the interest of the architects of the first third of the 20th century in displaying the modernity of their discourse through this type of building. Sumptuous exhibition "lounges", or even veritable "palaces", with marble and gilding, are then fitted out for "cars", a new fetish of the wealthy classes. Isn't the Auto Show itself held at the Grand Palais? From 1907, the Perret brothers carried out, on rue de Ponthieu, a first attempt at "aesthetic concrete" (Auguste Perret) for a garage (demolished in 1970). In 1925, Mallet-Stevens was put in charge of the construction of the Maryland garage on rue Marbeuf (next to the Citroën garage).

A partner of André Citroën, businessman Etienne Bunau-Varilla (1856-1944), director of the Société du Garage Marbeuf, but also director of the big daily The morning and patron of modern architects, called on Albert Laprade (1883-1978) and his partner of Swiss origin Léon-Emile Bazin (1900-1976) to create an automobile store with an exhibition hall.

In 1928, Albert Laprade had already to his credit a very important production, especially in Morocco [1]. In 1925 he participated in the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts, which enshrined his rising fame.

Image Analysis

A theatrical store

Rue Marbeuf, a stone's throw from the Champs-Elysées, Laprade and Bazin design, to attract and focus the gaze of passers-by, this monumental display-window, 19 meters high and 21 meters long, made up of a metal frame, so that the floors and walls of the store are made of "concrete walls". Two lateral massifs, reminiscent of bow windows, frame the imitation stone facade and partly covered with a terrazzo decor.

This building replaces a previous exhibition store, but leaves intact, behind the new building, the old garage proper, built in 1926.

The exhibition store is designed as a theater, whose stage would be the street, the actors the passers-by, and the spectators the automobiles, lined up in their places, on the different floors, facing the spectacle of the street. The objective is that the passer-by, more and more drawn by the hectic urban life, can stop, if only for a few seconds, in front of this packed room where the accumulation of vehicles is underlined by the profile of the "platforms. - balconies ”.

The architects, who in this drawing emphasize the mass effect of industrial production, do not yet imagine that these automobiles, piled up in the store, could one day invade the streets!

The signs of the Marbeuf garage, closely linked to architecture, are the subject of numerous literary studies. Those of the Citroën name stand out on the bare top of the entablature, while the letters of Marbeuf are powerfully integrated into the base of the side bow windows.

Correspondence paper from "Marbeuf, the 10-story garage"

Letterheads and commercial paper rivaled each other in advertising creativity in the 1920s. The administration of the Marbeuf garage used a longitudinal section of the garage as an expression of its commercial dynamism, the height of the building being used here as a pledge of modernity and quality. progress. The innovative use of halftone allows the image to cover the entire surface of the paper and thus affirm the innovative character of the architecture through the advertising medium.

Night view of the new facade

Very early on, Albert Laprade understood the infinite resources that electric lighting could bring to the enhancement of the architectural work. Here, the “limelight” fully plays their role, illuminating the street scene as much, if not more, than the interior stages themselves. The profile of the store shelves is perfectly enhanced by the lighting, and the sparkling chrome of the vehicles glistens in the deluge of light. The build-up effect, reinforced by the framing and the light, paradoxically miniaturizes the vehicles and gives the impression that this is a toy store rather than a full-size car store.

Night view of the exhibition store

The interior lighting of the store is also expertly arranged, in particular thanks to the black and white tiling, the striking lighting effect of the whole being accentuated by the bird's eye view. During this period, architects benefited from the considerable progress made by architectural photography since the turn of the century, in particular in the treatment of interior spaces and in the mastery of night shots.

Interpretation

Albert Laprade or classical modernity

The design of the Marbeuf garage has a resolutely affirmed innovative character, in particular by the association of the monumental display case and its side frames. This modernity will not escape the European architects of the Modern Movement, such as Gropius in Germany or Dudok in the Netherlands. The Marbeuf garage will be one of Laprade’s achievements most widely mentioned in architectural magazines and books abroad. The building will be demolished in 1952.

Fascinated, between the two wars, by the immense possibilities revealed by electric power, Laprade built not only the headquarters of the Central Electricity Office (OCEL), boulevard Haussmann (1931-1932), and of the Parisian Distribution Company of electricity (CPDE), rue de Rennes (1933-1935), but also very important structures such as the Génissiat dam, on the Rhône, built with its workers' city from 1938 to 1955.

While Laprade’s achievements, a reflection of exceptional professional longevity (1912 to 1970), are firmly rooted in modernity, they also show the influence of the model of classical French architecture at the end of the 17th century. Two other of his major achievements illustrate this: the Permanent Colonies Museum (which will become the Museum of African and Oceanic Arts), built in the Bois de Vincennes for the Colonial Exhibition of 1931, and the French Embassy in Ankara. (1934-1939).

  • architecture
  • automobile
  • city
  • garage
  • graphics
  • Laprade (Albert)
  • 20s
  • cars
  • architects
  • Paris
  • electricity
  • lighting
  • building
  • Champs Elysees
  • publicity

Bibliography

LEMOINE (Bertrand) and RIVOIRARD (Philippe)Architecture of the 1930sParis-Lyon, Delegation for artistic action of the City of Paris-Editions de La Manufacture, 1987.MIDANT (Jean-Paul) "Albert Laprade", in Dictionary of 20th century architectureParis, Hazan-French Institute of Architecture, 1996.

To cite this article

Jean-Charles CAPPRONNIER, "The advertising architecture of the Marbeuf garage (Laprade & Bazin, 1928-1929)"


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