MORE THAN JUST AN OFFICE BUILDING, BETC’S LES MAGASINS GÉNÉRAUX STRIVES TO BE A CREATIVE AND CULTURAL HUB THAT CAPTURES THE ESSENCE OF PANTIN.
Les Magasins généraux is not only BETC’s landmark headquarters, situated in the heart of Greater Paris, but also a creative center.
With Les Magasins généraux, BETC firmly believes that culture and the arts bring people together, and aims to be a creative center that contributes to the energy of an emerging Greater Paris. Through cultural activities, the agency brings together the worlds of creativity and commerce and offers a unique, relevant, and new type of platform for brands to express themselves.
The imposing 1930s construction is a 20,000-square-meter former grain warehouse and later a derelict graffiti templetaken over by squatters and street artists. BETC moved into the building in August 2016 after years of renovation work, led by founder Rémi Babinet, who handpicked an architect and a team of ten European designers to create the workplace of the future, as well as a creative meeting place.
The building boasts an entire floor dedicated to production, with a photo studio, a state-of-the-art recording studio (notably used by artists signed by BETC record label POP Records), as well as various studios for audio, video, and post-production, plus a workshop used by BETC Design, complete with tools and 3D printers for prototyping.
The rooftop garden grows a wide variety of fruit trees, berries, vegetables, and flowers, all available for the staff to harvest. In addition, the agency also grows hops for brewing its own beer and has been making sweet, delicious BETC honey for some ten years now, thanks to our hard-working bees.
The agency embraces a hot desking concept that allows people to sit and work from wherever they want, including the garden, the lush patio, or the amazing canteen that serves as co-working space outside of lunch hours. Between 12 and 2 p.m. however, this is where BETC staff gathers to enjoy delicious meals cooked by Head Chef Delphine Suarez and her thirteen-member team. Expect to choose between at least three different starters, three mains, three desserts, and of course cheese—this is France, after all. Produce is carefully selected, mainly organic, seasonal, and locally sourced.
Next to the canteen sits the extensive media library where staff can borrow books and magazines or read the news. For those who like to get a sweat on there’s a gym with machines, but also popular classes running throughout the day—anything from Pilates to boxing, yoga, and Zumba. Employees navigate the building thanks to a dedicated app “L’appli Générale,” which is also used to book gym sessions, order and pay for lunch, reserve meeting rooms, geolocate, read news, receive alerts, and get in touch with each other.
The ground floor is open to the public and houses the agency’s restaurant partner Dock B and a huge exhibition space that hosts guest exhibitions, DJ sets, talks, and biannual charity fashion sales. It is also the heart of the Magasins généraux cultural seasons, curated by our in-house Art Directors, Anna Labouze and Keimis Henni. The latest exhibition, called “Futures of Love,” was produced in collaboration with Tinder and brought in over 30,000 visitors. Last summer, coinciding with the FIFA World Cup, BETC hosted the exhibition “Par Amour du Jeu 1998-2018,” championing emerging and established artistic talent from Petra Cortright to Juergen Teller, who explored football as a social phenomenon. The entire exhibit spread over 3,000 square meters, including a fully functioning football pitch and specially curated program of events. The plaza in front of Magasins généraux was turned into the official fan zone of the department and thousands of people gathered to watch France win the final on giant screens.
Magasins généraux is also the publisher of books like Cantine Générale and the Guide des Grands Parisiens—the first-ever guide book to Greater Paris, with a second edition—this time in English—coming out in spring 2020.