Bookstore Revival: Livaria Cultura at Iguatemi

Marcio Kogan and his team at Studio MK27 have built a bookstore that does away with old concepts of what a bookstore should be. Instead of focusing on books, Livaria Cultura at Iguatemi ditches the closed concept and opens everything up by providing a clean, open area that visitors will want to appreciate by spending time inside relaxing.

With the rapid acceptance of online book shopping, brick-and-mortar bookstores faced a rapid decline in popularity. For many readers, using a tablet became much more convenient than endlessly searching for books in a sea of shelves. While many of these stores failed to adapt and thus closed, a group of architects changed the idea of what a bookstore should be, with their newest project in São Paulo.

Architect in charge, Marcio Kogan, and his team designed the bookstore so it serve as a place visitors would want to visit and feel invited to hangout in after they a book from one of many white, LED lit shelves. To achieve this, they designed the store with a plan of fluidity, open circulation and spatial continuity.

Visitors on this fluid journey are first met by 25 foot long glass and aluminum frames, which lead to a floor where Blu-Rays and a café are located, making this the most intimate floor. But it's the final, top floor that is truly spectacular and displays Kogan's vision for the future of bookstores.

As visitors ride up the escalator to the top floor, they immediately see what makes this bookstore different. The large, wide-open, all-wooden room consists of tables and brightly colored chairs in the middle. Rows of books are stacked neatly along the perimeter so as not to disturb anyone. Near the back, sixty-nine foot-long bleachers overlook the main floor and act as more space for visitors to relax, or to even serve as performance space. And above all are lines of light that highlight everything.

The bookstores of old stuck to their belief that books were the most important feature. But this new design by Kogan and his team shows that bookstores, built with wide open space in mind, can be built and serve as a cool place to hangout. Who wouldn't want to sit on one of those triangle red chairs?

The books stores of old failed to adapt by not accepting that bookstores can be places of gathering. Rows of shelves and other floor clutter felt intimidating at times. Marcio Kogan and his architects changed this belief by focusing on open circulation while insuring that Livaria Cultura at Iguatemi invites visitors to find a book and relax inside for hours on end.

Photography: Fernando Guerra at FG+SG fotografia de arquitectura

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