Book-Lovers Have Dreamt About THIS Bookstore Their Entire Lives…
A theater repurposed as a bookstore? How come no one's ever thought of this before? If you ever find yourself in Buenos Aires, Argentina, add El Ateneo Grand Splendid to your itinerary.
Designed by architects Peró and Torres Armengol, the venue originally opened up in the 1920s as Teatro Grand Splendid, featuring performances by tango singers and other shows. It was later converted into a movie theater.
Over the decades, the space was converted for multiple uses, depending on demands. However, in 1991, the theater was shut down due to economic troubles and scheduled for demolition.
And then came the Ilhsa Group, owners of the El Ateneo publishing house. They purchased the building in 2000 and reimagined it into one of the most impressive book and music shops in the world.
Wouldn't it be great if libraries were set up like this? There are seats on stage and in the balcony boxes. There's a nook for every type of person. We'd love to explore this beautiful space in person one day.
Continue reading for photos and details.
This unassuming building has been through a lot this past century.
It was originally created for Max Glücksmann, an Argentine Jewish pioneer of the music and film industries. The venue, then called Teatro Gran Splendid, opened up in May 1919.
Take a peek inside.
This is what it looks like today. The theater featured frescoes painted by Italian-Argentine painter Nazareno Orlandi and caryatids by sculptor Troiano Troiani.
A closer look at the frescoes.
The dome features images to represent peace following the First World War.
Originally from Italy, Nazareno Orlandi was an award-winning muralist who was summoned to Buenos Aires by Francesco Tamburini and the Argentinian government. He settled there until his death in 1952.
The building was converted into a movie theater.
Cinema was on the rise in the 1920s, and that's when the venue was converted to show films. In 1929, some of the first sound films in Argentina were shown at this location.
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