Galeries Lafayette closes its Berlin store

Galeries Lafayette closes its Berlin store


A Jean Nouvel work which opened in 1996 on Friedrichstrasse in Berlin, what was the first branch abroad of the iconic Galeries Lafayette of Paris could now become a large library. In spite of huge investments, Friedrichstrasse has not managed to consolidate as a luxury shopping place. The situation has worsened over time and a growing number of stores shutting down – including Galeries Lafayette, which is to close late in 2024 – confirms Berlin’s incapacity to maintain so many shopping centers.

In this context, State Minister for Culture Joe Chialo put forward the idea that Nouvel’s building be transformed into a library. The desire for a new central library in Berlin goes back several decades with repeated frustrated attempts, as when former mayor Klaus Wowereit proposed a monumental one at Tempelhof, after the airport was closed.

The next months will be key in determining the building’s conversion to something else and unblocking the political decisions that concern it. For this project, Chialo has the support of Berlin’s cultural community, the executive board of the Zentral- und Landesbibliothek (ZLB), and an important part of the media and public opinion.

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