Off the shelf...

Innovative new bookstore for São Paulo

by James Forryan 08 October 2009
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    The Livraria da Vila is the result of the refurbishment of a two-story house, built on a very narrow plot in São Paulo.From the start, it was clear to the architects that an open plan was needed, as to better arrange products and circulation. For that reason, significant structural alterations were performed to the existing building, such as the incorporation of metal parts that would make it possible to displace the pillars to the outer sections of the building, and reinforce its foundations.

    The inclusion of one extra level, the basement, allowed for the setting up of an entire floor exclusively for children, in addition to a small auditorium to hold courses and lectures.

    The shop's designers believe that in a commercial venue, a project must always be developed to enhance the product, its in-store merchandising, and its sales. There are, undoubtedly, innumerable ways to achieve this goal, and it is probably the nature of the approach that distinguishes each project.Isay Weinfeld Architects, in particular, strive for solutions that will allow customers to experience the product as comfortably aspossible.

    In the case of Livraria da Vila, such comfort is translated into the composition of low-ceiling spaces, dark tones, indirect lighting and infinite shelves, in careful disarray, covering all walls to the ceiling. Whichever directionone looks at, there are books, and an unpretentious feel, reminiscent of that of used-book stores, making customers at ease to browse the shelves for the books they want, to leaf through or even read them in the couches andeasy chairs scattered around the multiple storeys.

    The pivoting window-shelf-doors, and the voids 'connecting' one floor to the next, are other project elements that, unexpectedly, invite customers to enter and explore the store and its various spaces.


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