Infotech The “Obs” archives – The “invasive omnipresence” of Jean-Claude Decaux’s bus shelters

The “Obs” archives – The “invasive omnipresence” of Jean-Claude Decaux’s bus shelters

In the archives of the “Obs”

Which world, which French people, which society told “Le Nouvel Observateur” (which became “L’Obs” in 2014) half a century ago? Every weekend, we offer you an article, interview, report, portrait or letter from readers drawn from our archives.

Jean-Claude Decaux, who died in 2016 at the age of 78, was an autodidact who began by installing roadside advertising signs. Then he moved on to street furniture, particularly in the form of shelters, or bus shelters, the famous “bus shelters” (trademark registered by the company and often passed into everyday language). At 33, when the article below appeared in 1972, he had already developed a flourishing business, with 10,000 bus shelters in France. A success which was based on the lack of means of the communities, the absence of coherent organization of the urban furniture and the skill of the contractor – “the New Obs” quoted the telephone, then often laborious (the sketch of the “22 à Asnières” by Fernand Raynaud dates from 1966), when Decaux offered public cabins with its bus shelters.

Its rise was not achieved without a few attempts at resistance, which remained in vain, reports “l’Obs” in 1972: “Distraught by its demands, exasperated by its invading omnipresence, the Paris council, the administration of the new towns are trying to encourage competitors, launch competitions and calls for tenders, concoct scholarly specifications. »

The success

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