In the early 1970s, the Group expanded its range of urban street furniture to meet the needs of local governments and residents. In those days, the Design Department designed models inspired by Jean-Claude Decaux. Freestanding advertising panels were created in 1972, followed in 1973 by the first signal masts.
From the 1980s onward, municipalities sought out street furniture designed to reflect their image and history. The Group seized this opportunity, offering a product range that could be tailored to the identity of each city. To do so, JCDecaux collaborated with renowned local architects. Working with the Group's Design Department, these architects designed street furniture that would meet JCDecaux's quality standards while matching the visual specifications of local authorities.
In 1992, Lord Norman Foster became the first internationally-renowned designer to work with the Group's teams, designing bus shelters for the United Kingdom. This collaboration set in motion a series of joint projects with the world's leading urban designers. Around the same time, JCDecaux also collaborated with Mario Bellini, who described his assignment in Rome as such: “Imagine what it is to design something that borrows a little from machines, a little from furniture, a little from architecture and a little from the Eternal City. With the technical and functional aspects perfectly attuned (thanks to the help of JCDecaux), we focused on the city itself (Rome, and therefore all other cities) and designed street furniture that was dignified, simple and easily identifiable.”
French designers Philippe Starck, Martin Szekely and Jean-Michel Wilmotte were next to accept the invitation to contribute their talent and add to JCDecaux's tradition of collaboration.
While residents and government officials alike had always been aware of the utility of street furniture, they now came to appreciate the importance of its style, its comfort and the role it can play. Street furniture can enhance a city's identity and improve quality of life. If the result is successful, street furniture can come to embody an era.Jean-Michel Wilmotte
In 1997, JCDecaux signed a contract with the city of Sydney for the 2000 Olympic Games. Its product range was developed by Australian architect Philip Cox, who incorporated the spirit of Sydney into the designs.
Always on the lookout for new talent, in 2005 JCDecaux commissioned Patrick Jouin to design Vélib’ bicycle docking stations, billboards and freestanding advertising panels for Paris, followed in 2009 by automatic outdoor public toilets.
A more recent collaboration was with Marc Aurel, in a bid to design bus shelters for the city of Paris in December 2013. The designer, working alongside JCDecaux's teams, reinvented the original bus shelter from 1964 and offered the city a streamlined passenger shelter design. Equipped with connected services, this new structure marked a transformation of bus shelters in the urban landscape, with an overriding focus on creating new public spaces that would balance heritage and modernity while complementing the elegance of Paris. The design is set to become THE global benchmark in advertising bus shelters.