In Säo Paulo, the capacious Livraria Cultura at Iguatemi by Studio MK27 elevates the bookstore in style and substance.
Bookstores have always been more than just places to buy books; they are also places to browse, to hang out, to talk and read and think. They are places where people linger, and they are by nature fluid, multi-use spaces. Those are the ideas behind Marcio Kogan’s spectacular interior for the Livraria Cultura, in the heart of São Paulo.
A simple rectangle reached by escalator, the 2,500-square-metre store, located in a mall, has been left open at its core, then wrapped by two tiers of books tightly packed within LED-illuminated shelving units. The internal lighting makes the volumes the focus, offering an elegant contrast to the warm, striated Perobinha wood that covers the floor, the Freijó ceiling and 16 matching display tables. Nelson Coconut Chairs, upholstered in two shades of orange, invite visitors to stay awhile. At one end, an expansive stair leads up a walkway that follows along the bookshelves, serving as yet another area to sit, talk, read or people-watch.
What is perhaps the most ingenious aspect of the Livraria Cultura, though, is the degree to which its openness and coziness enable it to be an ideal social space for live music, book signings or conferences. Its commercial purpose (after all, it’s not a public library but a bookstore) is discreetly submerged, and the welcoming design allows your mind to wander. For that reason alone, you might well end up wandering out with a book – even one or two you hadn’t planned to purchase. The culture of bookstores, alive and well in Brazil, is still all about discovery and surprise.
About the firm: Principal Marcio Kogan, who heads up a team of 24, is best known for his elegant, low-key residential spaces, including V4 House, which won the 2012 AZ Award for Best Residential Interior. marciokogan.com.br
Project Team: Marcio Kogan with Luciana Antunes, Maria Cristina Motta, Diana Radomysler, Mariana Ruzante, Mariana Simas and Marcio Tanaka
What the jury said: “Just having the commitment to create a bookstore of this magnitude is fantastic. It’s like a cultural department store, and the books themselves are a mosaic art piece.” – Diego Burdi, juror