According to The Guardian, El Ateneo Grand Splendid is ranked as the second-best bookstore globally. This remarkable establishment retains the grandeur and sophistication of the former Gran Splendid Theater and Cinema, which was designed by architects Peró and Torres Armengol.
The El Ateneo Grand Splendid
Situated in the Recoleta neighborhood, El Grand Splendid Theater originally opened its doors in 1919 and swiftly became a cultural hub in Buenos Aires, hosting various forms of entertainment, from ballet and opera to screening the city’s first “talkies.” The national Odeon record label, now under EMI’s ownership, was headquartered here, and renowned artists like Carlos Gardel recorded their music on the premises.
It Was Once a Radio Station
The venue even gave birth to its radio station, LR4 Radio Splendid, which commenced broadcasting from the same building in 1923.
The El Ateneo Grand Splendid Was Also A Cinema
The stunning building was originally designed by architects Peró and Torres Armengol, then later converted from a cinema into a bookshop by architect Fernando Manzone, who retained many parts of the theatre, including the stage, the balconies, the incredible architectural details, and even the red curtains.
Transformation to Bookstore
In the year 2000, the venue was transformed into a bookstore while carefully preserving its original decorations, notably the dome adorned with frescoes by Italian artist Nazareno Orlandi. The store boasts an impressive inventory of around 120,000 books, and there’s a cozy bar situated on what used to be the theater’s stage, where visitors can enjoy a coffee while indulging in a good read.
A Beautiful Experience
Throughout the store, you’ll find comfortable seating arrangements, making the experience of perusing books a genuine delight. The basement is dedicated to children’s books, and the upper floor serves as a space for exhibitions and displays.