The new palace of the Comptoir d’Escompte de Paris: a head office at the cutting edge of technology

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These 3 engravings, published in the Monde Illustré in 1882, represent the lobby, the roof and the hall of the new head office of the Comptoir d’Escompte They underline the imposing architecture of the new building and its monumental decoration, which aims to assert the solidity and prosperity of the bank.

Visitors cross the neo-Byzantine decorated lobby of columns and mosaics to reach the vast hall, the “atrium,” the building’s showpiece. This hall is topped by an immense glass roof at a height of 17m, supported by a substantial truss frame, that lets the daylight in. Consequently, glass occupies a key place in the hall’s structure and its decoration, contributing to the modernism of the head office of the Comptoir d’Escompte de Paris. The CNEP building was one of the foremost head offices of major French banks, along with that of Crédit Lyonnais.

A new head office adapted to the needs of the CNEP
Since 1851, le Comptoir d’Escompte de Paris has been headquartered in the Hotel Rougemont located at 11 rue Bergère in Paris, not far from the stock exchange. With the growth in business activity and personnel, the bank found itself cramped and decided to completely rebuild its head office. The CNEP entrusted the designed of the building to Edouard Corroyer, student of Viollet-Le-Duc, who had previously directed the restoration of Mont Saint-Michel. The work began in 1878 and was completed in 1882. This new building made a splash and its modernity was especially hailed in the contemporary press.

BNP Paribas Historical Archives
BNP Paribas Historical Archives
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