"Carousel of Light" Bookstore in Bucharest Occupies Breathtaking 19th-Century Bank Building

"Carousel of Light" Bookstore in Bucharest Occupies Breathtaking 19th-Century Bank Building

(Courtesy Square One)
(Courtesy Square One)

Forget, albeit momentarily, the speculated death of the print product. Romanian bookstore chain Carturesti has poured millions of dollars into the restoration of a 19th-century former bank building to house its second-largest retail outlet.

(Courtesy Square One)

Featuring a breathtaking high ceiling with a central skylight and dramatic byzantine marble colonnades, the Carturesti Carusel, which literally translates as “Carousel of Light” retails over 10,000 volumes and 5,000 albums and DVDs.

Located on the famous Lipscani street in Bucharest’s Old Town, the old-world, nearly all-white edifice comprises 1,760 square feet of retail space and six floors accessible by curving staircases reminiscent of carousels.

(Courtesy Square One) (Courtesy Square One)

The main floor and basement contain an art gallery and media space for cultural events, while the top floor is occupied by a bistro. The serially repurposed building closed down in 1948 back when it was the Chrissoveloni Bank. It was then converted into a men’s clothing store and subsequently a department store, before being seized during the Romania’s Communist period.

By 1990, the building was back in the hands of the illustrious banking family when it was recovered by its current owner Jean Chrissoveloni, who commissioned local architect Square One to execute its restoration.

“We minimized the chromatic elements in order to make room for the play of lights and shadows generated by the central skylight,” a Square One architect told Curbed. “The sinuous shape of the floors creates a dynamic atmosphere similar to a moving carousel.”

(Courtesy Square One) (Courtesy Square One) Basement media room (Courtesy Square One)
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