A look around the new Paris offices of BETC as it moves agency to fringes of the city

Les Magasins généraux

BETC has announced the opening of its new Paris hub, Les Magasins généraux – a former industrial building located outside of the city's traditional centre and designed to foster collaboration.

As with many of the world's major cities, creativity emerges in unexpected places – flourishing at the fringes. London has Dalston and Peckham, New York has Williamsburg, and Berlin Kreuzberg.

BETC is looking to harness the dynamic energy of the fringes by moving its offices to the Parisian suburb of Pantin, where the community will form an integral part of the advertising agency's future.

The new hub, Les Magasins généraux, a former grain warehouse of gargantuan proportions, not only accommodates the agency's 900 staffers, but will also act as a cultural destination for a host of events for the wider public and community of Pantin.

Known previously as a 'cathedral of graffiti', the building had lain empty for many years. Led by architect Frédéric Jung, the development is sympathetic to the building's industrial history, retaining original features such as the concrete pillars forming the structure.

Founder and chairman Rémi Babinet said: “We had to move out of the traditional Parisian centre to the vibrant suburbs to find the dynamic energy of a true world city, like New York, London or Shanghai."

The agency joins the likes of Chanel and Hermes, who have ateliers in the area.

The agency has worked closely with Pantin's mayor and city council to ensure the project will contribute to the local community, in line with the wider development of Greater Paris.

A programme of art, music, food and drink and innovation events will launch in January 2017, while the building's ground floor is open to the public, housing an affordable organic food hall, a live music venue and restaurant. Additionally, a web radio station, Le Poste général, broadcasts directly from the reception area.

At a time when agencies are evaluating the role they play in wider culture, BETC wants its new locale to become a hub of activity for multidisciplinary talent, attracting musicians, artists and producers to its production hub, The Garage.

Babinet said: "Our ambition is for Les Magasins généraux to facilitate connection between varied industries to enable experimentation and serendipitous collaborations to develop and grow."

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