Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Selexyz Dominicanen: Book Heaven

Wear the old coat and buy the new book
-Austin Phelps

Being an avid reader makes me a lover of all things bookish--cozy, messy stores that sell dusty, worn, 1st editions of some obscure author that has written a novel about some English village at the turn of the century.  It reads like historical fiction but in truth, was contemporary fiction and I am able to read about it through eyes that experienced it first hand.  Little things like that make me happy.  

Libraries are another source of joy for me.  We live near a university and I love going up into the stalls to find old French texts or books which the powers that be who determine what we read here in the states (the major bookstore chains) would not consider "best sellers".  This particular library is circa 1970 so lacks much in the charm catagory.  Cinder block doesn't do it for me!  

So I think I am going to have to move to Maastricht.  It is here that crumbling cathedrals are transformed into functional spaces once again.  Case in point:  Selexyz Dominicanen--a bookstore built inside a 12th century Dominicanenkerk in the center city.

Here modern technology meets its cousins from the past.  Books are housed in huge steel structures which allows for much of the church to remain exposed.  Frescoes on the ceiling have been restored to their previous splendor and one can sit and sip a warm beverage in the coffee shop while they leaf through all the treasures within.

Designed by Amsterdam architects Merkx and Girod, it won the Lensvelt de Architect Interior Prize 2007 and has been called,  "......the most beautiful bookshop of all time", by the Guardian. I would have to agree.

Photo credit:  Selexyz, Roos Aldershoff


Phivos Nicolaides said...

Wonderful places I like much! Thanky uou Kim for the information.

Kim said...

It is certainly on my "to-do" list to get there next time I am in Europe.