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Cultura Bookstore (Livraria Cultura)

The interior of this São Paulo Cultura Bookstore (Livraria Cultura) by Studio MK27, the Bookstore provides a 21st century retail experience with a large central area encased by books, allowing customers to read, chat and even watch a lecture or performance.

Cultura-Bookstore-Livraria-Cultura-By-Studio-MK27-02-FG_SG-Fernando-Guerra-759x840 Cultura Bookstore (Livraria Cultura) / Studio MK27

© FG+SG-Fernando Guerra

  • The primary aim of this project was to create a space that functioned not only as a place to buy books, but also a space to sit and socialise… a place you want to linger in. The tables and chairs provide a fantastic social space while the 21m wide stepped rear space is perfect for reading in groups or holding intimate lectures.
Cultura-Bookstore-Livraria-Cultura-By-Studio-MK27-05-FG_SG-Fernando-Guerra-759x871 Cultura Bookstore (Livraria Cultura) / Studio MK27

© FG+SG-Fernando Guerra

A simple rectangle reached by escalator, the 2,500-square-metre store, located in a mall, has been left open at its core, then wrapped by two tiers of books tightly packed within LED-illuminated shelving units. The internal lighting makes the volumes the focus, offering an elegant contrast to the warm, striated Perobinha wood that covers the floor, the Freijó ceiling and 16 matching display tables. Nelson Coconut Chairs, upholstered in two shades of orange, invite visitors to stay awhile. At one end, an expansive stair leads up a walkway that follows along the bookshelves, serving as yet another area to sit, talk, read or people-watch.

Cultura-Bookstore-Livraria-Cultura-By-Studio-MK27-11-FG_SG-Fernando-Guerra-759x799 Cultura Bookstore (Livraria Cultura) / Studio MK27

© FG+SG-Fernando Guerra

The Cultura bookstore has been designed to be a bookstore for the 21st century, a store where socialising, relaxing and purchasing are all combined. The top floor provides the main area of the store, a large area encased with bookshelves provides an open plan space with lounge chairs where customers can read and discuss. The space also features large tables and can be used for lectures and other events. – Inside Architecture Festival Award

Cultura-Bookstore-Livraria-Cultura-By-Studio-MK27-13-FG_SG-Fernando-Guerra-759x910 Cultura Bookstore (Livraria Cultura) / Studio MK27

© FG+SG-Fernando Guerra

“Just having the commitment to create a bookstore of this magnitude is fantastic. It’s like a cultural department store, and the books themselves are a mosaic art piece.” – Diego Burdi/AZURE Magazine’s Awards

Cultura-Bookstore-Livraria-Cultura-By-Studio-MK27-15-FG_SG-Fernando-Guerra-759x495 Cultura Bookstore (Livraria Cultura) / Studio MK27

© FG+SG-Fernando Guerra

Studio MK27:

‘A bookstore with a meeting place’. This was the main premise of studio mk27’s latest architectural project, Livraria Cultura at Iguatemi, Brazil. More than just somewhere to shop, the store needed to be inviting and a place where people would want to stay and hang out. So, the designers created a space where visitors could find the book they were looking for and then remain there to begin reading it.

Cultura-Bookstore-Livraria-Cultura-By-Studio-MK27-21-FG_SG-Fernando-Guerra-759x756 Cultura Bookstore (Livraria Cultura) / Studio MK27

© FG+SG-Fernando Guerra

The entrance to the store spans 7.7m, with glass and aluminum frames that are entirely recessed, leaving the passage open. On this floor, with its more intimate dimensions, audiovisual products such as blu-ray DVDs can be found in addition to a café in the garden.

Cultura-Bookstore-Livraria-Cultura-By-Studio-MK27-30-FG_SG-Fernando-Guerra-750x1000 Cultura Bookstore (Livraria Cultura) / Studio MK27

© FG+SG-Fernando Guerra

A set of escalators brings visitors up to the great span of the bookstore, reaching over an intermediate floor which houses toys and comic books, nicknamed the ‘Geek’ space. They arrive at the top floor, a large room filled with tables and club chairs with 21m wide bleachers opening across the space. Here visitors are invited to leaf through the pages of a book before or after purchasing. The space could also be used to hold small concerts and lectures.

Cultura-Bookstore-Livraria-Cultura-By-Studio-MK27-32-FG_SG-Fernando-Guerra-759x978 Cultura Bookstore (Livraria Cultura) / Studio MK27

© FG+SG-Fernando Guerra

The structure leads visitors through to an open mezzanine. Books encircle the space, supported by eleven large tables arranged orthogonally in the room and on white stands on the peripheral areas. The shelves have built-in LEDs and define the area as a cube internally clad with books. A multi-use room, built specially for conferences, earning the name ‘philosophical café’, completes the programme.

Cultura-Bookstore-Livraria-Cultura-By-Studio-MK27-37-FG_SG-Fernando-Guerra-759x680 Cultura Bookstore (Livraria Cultura) / Studio MK27

© FG+SG-Fernando Guerra

Glass hand-rails minimise the visual interference of the furniture and storage systems in the space, disappearing within the layout. The lighting scheme includes lines of light, completed with a central light in the centre of the upstairs room.

Cultura-Bookstore-Livraria-Cultura-By-Studio-MK27-52-FG_SG-Fernando-Guerra-759x569 Cultura Bookstore (Livraria Cultura) / Studio MK27

© FG+SG-Fernando Guerra

The configuration of the bookstore allows for open circulation, fluidity and spatial continuity. The architectural journey begins in a cosy space then arrives at a monumental area, where products and visitors interact with one another, where one can take a book and read a chapter even before purchasing it, where one can simply rest and watch the movement. An inviting and pleasant space that promotes socialization; Livraria Cultura is the bookstore of the 21st century.

Cultura-Bookstore-Livraria-Cultura-By-Studio-MK27-60-FG_SG-Fernando-Guerra-759x315 Cultura Bookstore (Livraria Cultura) / Studio MK27

© FG+SG-Fernando Guerra

Project Data:

Project name: Cultura Bookstore (Livraria Cultura)
Location: Shopping Iguatemi, Av. Brigadeiro Faria Lima, 2232 São Paulo – SP 01489-900 Brazil
Coordinates: -23.577223, -46.688269
Type: Store / Shop / Showroom / Retail, Library Interior
Project Area: 2,500 sqm
Status: Completed
Completion Year: 2012


  • 2015 – iF Design Awards – GOLD Award
  • 2014 – AZURE Magazine’s Awards – Best Commercial Interior
  • 2014 – World Architecture Festival Award – Category: Shopping (inc mixed use) – Finalist
  • 2014 – Inside Architecture Festival Award – Category: Retail – Winner
  • 2014 – LEAF Awards – Category: Commercial Building of the Year – Winner
  • 2014 – Interior Design Magazine Award – Category: Retail: Other – Winner

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: Livraria Cultura
Interior Designer: Studio MK27 – Alameda Tietê, 505 – Jardim Paulista, São Paulo – SP, 01417-020 Brazil
Architect In Charge: Marcio Kogan
Co Architects: Diana Radomysler . Luciana Antunes . Marcio Tanaka . Mariana Ruzante
Project Team:

  • Carlos Costa . Eline Ostyn . Laura Guedes . Maria Cristina Motta . Mariana Simas . Regiane Leão

Studio Team:

  • Beatriz Meyer, Carolina Castroviejo, Eduardo Chalabi, Eduardo Glycerio, Eduardo Gurian, Elisa Friedmann, Gabriel Kogan, Lair Reis, Oswaldo Pessano, Renata Furlanetto, Samanta Cafardo, Suzana Glogowski

Structural engineering: Breno Muradas
Ligthing: LD studio projeto de iluminação
Renders: Miguel Muralha
Contractor: Valor, Eng. Breno Muradas
Text Description: © Courtesy of Studio MK27, AZURE Magazine’s Awards, Inside Architecture Festival Award
Images: © Studio MK27, FG+SG-Fernando Guerra


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Cultura Bookstore (Livraria Cultura) / Studio MK27
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