BUCHAREST – This concept bookstore is a confection that seems to have been made from solid oak, white paint, and vanilla buttercream frosting. The designers grafted liquid-looking contemporary elements and added functionality onto the already robust beauty of an historical building. Inspired by the painting Golconda by Renee Magritte, the architects synthesised elements of Steampunk and the Surrealism of the films Brazil and The City of Lost Children with 1930s, and bits of 1970s, Bucharest.
A long central atrium leads from the entrance echoed by an extensive skylight far overhead. Book and product storage fully exploit the 5-m-high walls, wrapping the whole perimeter. Consonant with the brand, they used a broadly open plan and sculptural shapes without obstructing the existing architecture. But to make the most of limited space for product display and circulation on the middle floors, a sinusoidal floor and railing was added to generate more space between the pillars for stationary and other displays. The monolithically monochromatic treatment of almost the entire building interior reinforces the lighting scheme, a significant part of the plan.
Fixtures punctuate the ceilings, composed seemingly at random, but in a composition that was calculated precisely to accommodate the projected level of intensity demanded by each different display. This installation of the fixtures also mimics the starry sky viewed through the central skylight.