INTERIOR DESIGN | Medieval Church Turns Bookstore

29Sep08

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Booklovers now have their own house of worship: the Selexyz Bookstore. Designed by Dutch firm Merkx + Girod, the Selexyz in Maastrict takes its Gothic aspirational feel from the medieval Dominican church that contains it.

The conversion of the church into a retail store centered around a simple, elegant idea: create a freestanding three-story bookshelf within the church so that architectural elements could be in view and preserved intact. The perforated steel contrasts the stone carved quatrefoils, arches and stained glass. On the ground tables, seating and display cases complete the look without major renovation required. Quite genius.

Choosing a church as a space almost begs you to design high, providing shoppers a unique, visceral experience of reaching loftier heights, the way a good book often does. Walk up the stairs and you get a rare glimse of the world from the top of a church looking down. Look above and you are almost arm’s length away from frescoes painted hundreds of years ago.

I can’t help but giggle at the irony of all this secular conversion. Metropolis Magazine goes as far to call these church conversions a trend for the Dutch city. Friars’ homes turned into capitalist “dens of commerce.” Oxymoronic though it is, the space really works. The inspirational and aspirational mood of church architecture with a space for reading and books? Maybe not so far fetched.

Photos courtesy of Metropolis Magazine

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One Response to “INTERIOR DESIGN | Medieval Church Turns Bookstore

  1. 1 DD

    Cool, but there should definitely be some Oriental Rugs on those floors 🙂


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