Fictional library inspires traditional bookstore


Spanish studio SelgasCano has designed “Libreria” a concept bookstore in London, with handmade wooden bookshelves based on the fictional Library of Babel.

With its no-phone policy the store is intended to inspire an appreciation for paper books rather than digital devices.



José Selgas and Lucía Cano, the architects behind last year’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, used the 1940s fantasy tale by Argentinian author Jorge Luis Borges, “The Library of Babel”, as the starting point for their design.

This story features an almost infinite library where galleries contain every possible combination of letters. The architects attempted to recreate this sense of boundlessness using irregular shapes and mirrors.


“We believe in the value of books and literature,” the architects said. “Across industries we are seeing a return to physical material things and a fresh appreciation of craftsmanship. These things are not being killed by the digital; they are being given new life.”


“One of the joys of physical book buying is having an experience unimpaired by algorithmic recommendation – encountering works you might never otherwise see, “When curated well, bookshops are the best place to encounter new ideas.”


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