April 29, 2015
The latest list of “most beautiful bookstores” is compiled by Architectural Digest
by Claire Kelley
It seems like every year brings a couple different lists of the “most beautiful bookstores” in the world. Flavorwire, the BBC, CNN have all contributed a list—even Business Insider has published one.
Just this month, Architectural Digest came out with a new list that might be worth perusing since the magazine is presumably paying attention to the building and layout of each bookstore and has a higher bar for design.
Some of the regular picks are on the list—Shakespeare & Company in Paris, Livraria Lello in Portugal, and Atlantis Books in Greece. But some new ones show up that I hadn’t heard of, including Cook & Book in Brussels where “books appear to hover above the black-and-red fiction department” or the Fang Suo Commune in Ghengdu, China, where “the subterranean space features a variety of natural materials, such as concrete, copper, iron, and sycamore, which are combined to create dramatic, almost Brutalist interiors.”
Two on the list that I personally hope to visit are Cafebrería El Péndulo in Mexico City and The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles.. There are a number of branches of the Mexican bookstore, but Architectural Digest recommends the Polanco branch, which is a described as a “bright, soaring space includes two stories of books, the second accessible by balcony. Plants and vines wind their way through the shop, adding a jungle feel.” The Last Bookstor is the sole American bookstore and “a madcap cross between an independent bookstore and an art installation…[and includes] a mural and tunnel made out of books.”
Once you finish with the bookstore list, you might also want to check out Architectural Digest’s list of the most beautiful libraries around the world.
Claire Kelley is the Director of Library and Academic Marketing at Melville House.