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04 Dec 2018

New Banque de France building is a wealth of delights

Words by  Photo by Takuji Shimmura, © Jean-Paul Viguier et Associés

High-tech security meets cutting-edge design in the bank's new HQ in the Paris suburbs

The new site of the Banque de France Paris was unveiled last month as part of the ongoing Grand Paris project, developing and extending the French capital’s profile as a global financial hub and give the city’s much-maligned burbs a shot in the arm.

Designed by Parisian architectural firm Jean-Paul Viguier et Associés, the bank sits just to the north of the city, on the site of a former steel factory in a long-disused industrial zone.

Banque de France Takuji Shimmura3The bank building will handle one billion banknotes

With an emphasis on natural light, floor-to-ceiling windows and perforated panels producing patterns across dazzling, white-on-white exteriors, the complex is a million miles away from your average gloomy, granite grey counting house, while an internal patio allows staff to take a breather from dealing with all of that cash.

The effect is of a cutting-edge, high-tech nerve centre; perfectly fitting for the second-largest cash-handling facility in Europe, one that will handle 25 per cent of the French national reserves, amounting to roughly one billion banknotes.

Banque de France Takuji ShimmuraA detail showing the building's perforated panels

But budding bank robbers should not be fooled. This is not just a pretty facade. Highly-secured with a technological shield, it’s also extremely resilient and solid, which makes the design’s elegant openness even more of an achievement.

Already hailed in the French media as a flag-waver for a reborn La Courneuve (the down at heel, oft-overlooked region where the new building is situated), members of the public will be able to visit an office building with the bank's new complex created by the joining up of two revamped and restored units from the original factory.

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