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Category Archives: shops

Cube Houses (Kubuswoningen) are a set of residential houses designed by architect Piet Blom and based on the concept of “living as an urban roof”, i.e., high density housing with sufficient space on the ground level. It is built in the late 70’s over Overblaak Street between Blaak and Oude Haven.

Blom tilted the cube of a conventional house 45 degrees, and rested it upon a hexagon-shaped pylon. The walls and windows are angled at 54.7 degrees. The total area of the apartment is around 100 square metres (1,100 sq ft), but around a quarter of the space is unusable because of the walls that are under the angled ceilings.

His design represents a village within a city, where each house represents a tree.

The cubes share a common area with no traffic which presents a nice atmosphere of a community. They reminded me of the heads of giant anime robots – mecha – think Gundam, for example.

There are 38 cubes and two large cubes, all attached to each other. There is a museum of chess pieces in one of the 38 cubes and a hostel in one of the larger cubes.

An apartment is opened as a museum –  Kijk-Kubus  – but it was too crowded and I did not bother to get inside.

Just across the square from the Cube Houses is Marthal. On 19 November 2009 work began on Marthal – the first covered market in the Netherlands. It was officially opened in 2014.

Its design is unique in that apartments are draped over the daily market in a horseshoe shape. It is spectacular given the scale of the whole structure.

The main hall houses the market itself, shops and restaurants, a supermarket and a 4-storey car park underground. It was a very popular location for locals and tourists alike.

There is a Chinese grocery store – Wah Nam Hong – which has a “restaurant”. The store is well stocked but the menu is however very limited. I tried but would not recommend it. If you want Asian food, the all-you-can-eat sushi chain restaurant is much more attractive and extremely popular.

The artist Arno Coenen created the Horn of Plenty, the biggest work of art in the world. Its bright colours cover an area of ​​11,000 m2.

While I was there, the weather was quite miserable – wet and cold. This marketplace is the perfect antidote to the grayness outside and to fill up with foods from the world.

One stop shopping for all of one’s culinary needs.

Wish there is one in Switzerland.

Rotterdam is a fun city.

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Witte de Withstraat (click here and here to see earlier posts) – probably the coolest street in Rotterdam, starts actually as Schiedamsedijk from the east near the Maritime Museum.

Margreeth Olsthoorn – a designer fashion store has a prime location here. I have never heard of this name before.

It is located on the corner of Schiedamsedijk and Westersingel.

This store likes to spread its fashion beliefs and philosophies on its awnings. It also like to put the designers’ names on its windows in “The Matrix”‘s style and on the pavement in front. These statements in English probably sound less pretentious to local Dutch ears.

“Fashion is a language”

“The difference between style and fashion is quality” …

… Maison Margiela

“Elegance doesn’t mean being noticed, it means being remembered”

“Fashion is architecture: It is a matter of proportions”

“Style is primarily a matter of instinct”

“I wear lots and lots of sunscreen”- I doubt if this piece about wearing something is made by the store but it stands right next to the store. See the tiny plaque at the bottom ? Behind this piece is a gallery NL=USart. Parody ?

I noticed that in Rotterdam, English quotes are very popular so much so that many of them, literally writings on the wall, are used as decoration on buildings.

Here is an example: ” in the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes” by Andy Warhol on Witte de Withstraat.  May be it is a Dutch thing which could also explain the “fashion statements” I showed above.

At the other end of Witte de Withstraat just before the road continues into Museumpark stood this artwork on top of a building of the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen.

“Breathe Walk Die” by Ugo Rondinone

As it has been said in earlier posts including this one here, the whole area is worth a lot of exploring.

I(Chris) spent a day in Rotterdam after a meeting in The Hague, which is only a short train ride away.

Rotterdam is actively marketing itself as a popular destination for international visitors, an alternative to Amsterdam. It was built around the river Rotte in 1270 and grew rapidly over the centuries but in 1940, during World War II, the entire city center was destroyed by bombs.

The city was rebuilt, opting to break from the past, and commits itself to contemporary architecture.

Witte de Withstraat is a street which connects the Maritime Museum (just visible in the photo below) with the Museumpark.

It is the cultural center of the city which is full of restaurants, bars, museums and interesting shops.

“Work hard, play here” at the Metropole Cafe

I was there in the afternoon so that the seating areas of the bars and restaurants were somewhat empty.

But one can imagine that the place must be really fun at night.

The street is the scene.

Somebody proposed to Sam with this graphics ? Cool.

And there is of course a Dutch “coffeeshop” nearby, this one with subway-style turnstiles ! (not clearly visible in the photo) and a sauna/massage salon next door.

These establishments are facing an open park, so it is not at all sleazy as it may sound.

This sculpture of Sylvette by Picasso marks the beginning of the Museumpark.

See part 2 for the next segment of this thoroughfare.

 

 

 

 

Another bookstore … this time in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. This one barely survived.

Donner is located on Coolsingel, in a former bank building, all public areas on one floor. This bookstore and the pride of Rotterdam was swallowed up by a big chain store that unfortunately went bankrupt in 2014.

The Top 10 fictions and non-fictions.

Owing to a successful crowdfunding campaign that raised 250.000 euros, Donner was able to relocate to its current location.  It’s again a proudly independent and well stocked bookshop.

The number one fiction – “The Best Thing We Have” by Griet Op de Beeck.

A nice collection of Lovecraft stories.

Cookbook section

Calendars for 2018.

Like most bookstores these days, they sell a whole lot of other non-printed merchandise, such as collectible objects.

There was an event which just finished. A line of people was waiting for refreshments and perhaps a selfie with the speaker or an autographed book.
 
Old books – several aisles of them.
High-end lifestyle magazines. They look like coffee table photo books without a real topic (except Nez which is a serious perfume magazine), and costs the same or more.
There is something about this bookstore, possibly its slight messiness in full view which made me felt like I was in a public library.
Hope this one survives.

Continuing with my tour of the world’s bookstores … Livraria Bertrand at Rua Garrett 73 in Lisbon is the oldest and largest bookstore chain in Portugal.

Since it was launched in 1732, the Bertrand Bookstore stayed open, and has thus entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest bookstore in the world still in operation. The business survived earthquakes, revolutions and the recent economic crisis.

The bookstore was founded by a Frenchman in the area of the current store – Baixa. Pierre Bertrand joined the store in 1744.

The earthquake of 1755 destroyed the original store but it returned in 1773 to Rua Garreta where it still operates today.

Later in the twentieth century, the company evolved, changed owners several times. In 1912, ownership of the “Livraria Bertrand” was with the firm ‘Aillaud Bastos & Alves’ editors in Paris, Lisbon and Rio de Janeiro. In 1938, it opened the first bookstore in Porto and, from 1939, Livraria Bertrand had its own printing press.

When I arrived, it was still opened. The closing time is 10:00pm – rare for a bookstore in Europe.

The top 10 fictions and non-fictions – the No. 1 fiction is Dan Brown’s Origin – sans surprise. Very few English books.

Nobel laureate José Saramago’s books are prominently featured (inside and in the window display) as were those by the poet Fernando Pessoa.

The bookstore is all on one floor.

The Bertrand Group owns 53 bookstores in Portugal, a book club, and eight smaller publishers. The company was a subsidiary of giant German media corporation Bertelsmann until 2010, when Bertelsmann sold Bertrand to Porto Editora, Portugal’s biggest publishing house. “Bookstore Bertrand” is thus the name of a network of bookstores across the country.

Law Books

Although the brick-and-mortar bookstore is under threat, Bertrand has managed so far and built an online presence. I read that many Portuguese language books that publishers send overseas are delivered to Africa and nearly half are ordered by customers in Angola.

We saw some big beautiful bookstores in Sao Paulo, Brazil, click here, here and here. You would have thought that they do well in South America, but Bertrand is not there. Apparently, Portugal and its former colonies do not have a standardized literary language (although they speak the same language) which could be used simultaneously in Europe, Africa, and South America. As a result, the works of Portuguese novelists must be “translated” into the Brazilian version of literary Portuguese before they can be marketed in Brazil.

The bookstore has a cafe – Cafe Bertrand with the catchphrase “Taste our books”. It also has its own entrance.

The room is named after the poet Fernando Pessoa who frequented this place with many Portuguese literary luminaries over the years. Notice the typewriter sitting above the wine refrigerator? Just in case if someone is in a creative mood ?

It also has a cute character-based logo in the shape of a cup and saucer.

Keeping the good bookstore tradition alive.

Just before catching my mid-afternoon flight home from Lisbon, I (Chris) had a walk through this place and a quick bite with a bunch of new friends (J, K, L, R & S). It was a really fun two hours.

I took most of the text posted here from its web site, click here to visit.

“It’s in the year 1846 that a threads and fabrics Company called “Companhia de Fiação e Tecidos Lisbonense”, one of the most important manufacturing complex in Lisbon’s history, sets in Alcântara. This 23.000 m2 industrial site was, subsequently, occupied by a set of industrial use related companies.”

It was Sunday and the place was packed with rural farmers selling fruits and vegetables.

Artists and craftsman selling their work.

A giant fly on the wall of a hostel within the grounds.

Not Rio, it’s Lisbon.

Plenty of street art.

A mural that stretches across one side of a large warehouse.

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“An urban fragment, kept hidden for years, is now returned to the city in the form of LXFactory. A creative island occupied by corporations and professionals of the industry serves also has stage for a diverse set of happenings related to fashion, publicity, communication, fine arts, architecture, music, etc., attracting numerous visitors to rediscover Alcântara through an engaged dynamics.”

Among the shops, eateries and offices, a company installed two escape rooms – “LX Escape – Burlesque Edition” – click to see the backstory of the escape rooms here. We wanted to do it but decided to have lunch first. But then I had to leave … and later my friends decided to see Fado with dinner instead. Well, it means the escape rooms are waiting for me to return.

There are quite a few buildings on the site and I did not have the time to walk through them.

I wonder what’s the story behind these images …

It must remind people of Covent Garden or Camden Lock in London. See also our posts on similar ideas of retail/art projects: Common Ground in Seoul and PMQ in Hong Kong.

Great project. It works. Every city needs at least one of these.

Continuing with our bookstore tour … this one in Scotland

The Waterstones at Edinburgh’s West End is one of four in the city.

The four-floor bookshop is right at the heart of the city, opposite Edinburgh Castle, on the capital’s main shopping street; Princes St.

They have “a large and inviting Children’s department, a robust and exciting events programme, and a Scottish department that reflects the richness and diversity of this country.

Once upon a time …

In my opinion, the most remarkable feature of the bookstore is the staircase that links the four floors.

Parts of the stairs are symmetrical.

More books on Scotland

Want to hike the Highlands ? Here is whole shelf full of maps.

The landing is used very effectively to display books.

Another view of the stairs.

The Café is on the Second Floor …

… with great views of the Castle and Edinburgh skyline.

Books on the English language.

Definitely a great place to linger when it is drizzling outside as it happens frequently in the summer (we have so far experienced except the time when this photo was taken).

Almost forgot this post which we wrote earlier in the year.

We visited The former Hollywood Road Police Married Quarters, now renamed PMQ 元創方 in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong earlier this year. The buildings and grounds have been turned into a landmark for the creative industries. It is truly a great place to wander and shop as well as to soak up some local history and creative culture.

The history and preservation efforts of the site are well researched and documented here officially. Much of the writings below have been taken from various Hong Kong government sources.

In 1951, the site started as the Hollywood Road Police Married Quarters — the first dormitory for Chinese rank and file police officers. The site included 140 single rooms and 28 double rooms, with a semi-open design that allowed greater interaction between the residents. The site had been vacant since 2000.

The two buildings have been refurbished and upgraded for new uses. Residential units have been converted into design studios and shops, offices for creative enterprises and lodging for visiting designers. The buildings of PMQ are of modern style, feature a simple and clean appearance with a more utility approach for the design of space and form. This style emerged in the early 1950s when there was a great increase in population, resulting in great demand in buildings which required fast and efficient construction.

In order to cope with this, the design of building aimed at meeting the minimum requirement and standard which resulted in a simple and functional design. Buildings of this style are mainly built of strictly utilitarian reinforced concrete with flat roofs with minimal decoration.

This place turns out to be the childhood homes of both Hong Kong ex-Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and his predecessor Donald Tsang.

When the government was going to auction the land, conservationists launched a campaign, citing social historical values embedded in the buildings and the fact it was once the site of Hong Kong’s first government school offering Western-style education.

Given that nearly HK$600 million of public funds has been spent on its renovation, PMQ is seen as a major test case on how Hong Kong conserves and revitalises historic buildings.

We thought about Common Ground in Seoul (see post here) – which is also a cool place for locals and tourists to socialize and shop.  Common Ground is more commercial while PMQ is more artsy – perhaps it can afford to be so as some of the tenants are sponsored.

PMQ’s mission statement says it wants to nurture the best design entrepreneurs in town, put them on the path to commercial success and become a popular destination for tourists and locals in its own right.

On the ground and first floors, there are fancy eateries and established designers and retailers like Vivienne Tam and G.O.D. Having known designer names on the premises is vital to the sustainability of the whole project, not just because of the higher rent that they pay, but also their crowd-pulling power.

We rested our feet with a few drinks at the Tai Lung Fung which adopts a certain vintage Hong Kong eatery designs.

The style is before our time and we cannot tell if it is accurate but it looks authentic.

 

Highly recommended.

One morning in Biarritz, we went over to the town’s main market to get coffee and some breakfast.

Pastries.

Busy, as expected. But lots to see and buy.

The sandwiches for Fa and An looked really good. Very fresh.

This stand specializes in goat cheese, so many varieties.

Fresh goat cheese with fruits.

Poultry and rabbit.

Something internal (gesiers) and drumstick (manchons) smeared with duck fat – only in France.

As Biarritz is so close to the Spanish border, there were lots of jamon. Wanna see more Spanish ham ? – click here.

Hams, ruccola, grilled eggplant and peppers wrapped in mozzarella.

Canned seafood for tapas.

A nice way to spend a morning.

Another entry to our tour of bookstores around the world …

We found this gem of a bookstore in Biarritz.  The bookstore is called “BOOKSTORE”. And to confirm the nature of its business, on the storefront below the name, it says “Librairie Bookstore”.

It is understandable that this establishment at a French beach town is so named in English because historically, many British tourists including royalties like Queen Victoria and King Edward VII spent their vacation at this seaside resort.

On its website, it lists its Summer opening hours which are 1 hour longer and are applicable from July 8 to September 1.  After all, the bookstore is barely a block from the beach – No. 27 Place Clemenceau.

The bookstore is remarkable in that it is really quite small – not much larger than a newsagent that sells only magazines, cigarettes, sodas and chewing gum.

The back of the store has a lower section that sells “livre de poche” – paperback books – perfect for the beach.

The front room has a main area and a set of stairs that lead to a mezzanine level.

There is a “bureau” in the front room as well as at the mezzanine level. These bureaus are essentially little single-person booths where a storekeeper helps customers with payment and questions.

The bureau on the mezzenine level is rather unusual as it is suspended in the airspace (hovers) above the main area. A small souvenir street nameplate stuck on this bureau says “Place de la Contrescarpe” – a square in Paris considered the center of the 5th arrondisement – the Latin Quarter – an area known for scholarly and literary pursuits.

Despite its size, it affords a nice small leather sofa (oversized relative to the floor space) on the mezzanine level.

All the offerings here appear to be quality reading materials – most if not all are in French and we are not yet proficient to understand/gauge – so we judged them by their covers.

Books are displayed three-sixty degrees on all available shelf space, wall space and any flat surfaces.

The store is generously lit by big bright round light bulbs  – without them the space might feel a bit claustrophobic.

We presume the bookstore is fully stocked since we were at the beginning of the tourist season, hence multiple copies of the same book in stacks on display.

One of a kind.

 

In our bookstore tour of the world, we increasingly see the merger of bookselling with another retail concept – for example, the T-site in Daikanyama 代官山 in Tokyo and the Eslite Spectrum in Hong Kong – see our posts here and here. In Bologna, I (Chris) visited the Librerie Coop + Eataly Bologna – a combination that is more 50-50 than the earlier examples.

 

Librerie Coop is a chain in Italian bookstore with more than 30 stores.

 

Eataly is an international operator of food halls selling Italian food stuffs and restaurants – their stores are apparently wildly successful in NYC at first (that was after we left the city) and then in Chicago.

 

Admittedly, we have not yet been inside one in the US but we imagine them to be a kind of European imported food megastore with a high-end food court. The food halls of Harrods (London), Shinsegae (Seoul) and KaDeWe in Berlin (see post) come to mind.

 

The corporate parent is an Italian company founded near Alba and started first in Torino. Apparently, the two companies have collaborated at multiple locations in Italy.

 

The book-food store is located not far from Piazza Maggiore at Via degli Orefici, 19.

 

This location has a cafe, a wine bar…

 

a trattoria …

and an osteria.

I wonder if they will let customer take a book to the table to read while waiting for or consuming his/her order.

The bookstore floor space is tight, although it has several floors. Compare this with the oldest bookstore in Bologna, Libreria A. Nanni which I also visited – see post here.

The space feels intimate and cozy overall. Great idea, well executed.

I read in the news that Eataly will open a food theme park – Eataly World – in Bologna in 2017. It will convert 20 acres of old warehouses into 25 restaurants, 10 classrooms, a convention center, farms, and labs. Buono appetito. Looking forward to it …

Ciao

I was visiting Bologna last December. Bologna is famous not only for its pasta sauce and several other foods but also for its porticos. In total, there are over 45 km (28 miles) of arcades, some 38 in the city center. While strolling in the historic center, I came across this bookstore which uses part of the arcade in front of its store front to display books and magazines.

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Libreria Nanni is located at Via Dè Musei, 8 – under il Portico della Morte (Portico of Death) – its name arising from the nearby old Hospital of Santa Maria della Morte, which now houses the Archaeological Museum.

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The bookstore was founded by the Marchesi family in the early nineteenth century became a reference point for students, scholars and bibliophiles. It was acquired by Arnaldo Nanni in 1900’s. This is the oldest bookstore in the city of Bologna.

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It was just 7pm and the store keepers were closing down the store and moving some of the displayed books inside. I quickly wandered inside to look around.

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Apparently, this bookstore was frequented by the well-known writer and film director – Pier Paolo Pasolini – murdered in 1975 unfortunately.

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The bookstore also specializes in ancient books as well as old and rare magazines and comics – see the shelves behind the counter.

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They also sell text books but it is in the back behind the wall of ancient books.

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Judging by the age of the stalls, it is quite likely that books and magazines have been displayed this way for many years.

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Old Architectural Digest …

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comics …

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… and travel magazines

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If you are curious about bookstore, click here to see a renovated bookstore – Rizzoli – in a central shopping arcade in Milano.

Our next post will be about one of the newest bookstore in Bologna. Don’t miss it.

Spanish cured ham (Jamón Ibérico) is well known worldwide. They are sold and consumed in specialist shops – Jamonería – in Madrid.

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One such store situated just off the Puerta del Sol named itself Museo del Jamon.

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Its location suggests that it is a touristy place, but surprisingly, it was packed with locals or domestic tourists.

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One can have a sandwich with any ham in the shop.

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Platters with specific kinds of ham (jamon iberico, jamon serrano, lomo etc), sausages and cheeses.

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There were many kinds of ham and various price points.

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It reminded us a little bit of the sausage shop on the top floor of the KaDeWe in Berlin. Click here to see 100’s of sausages on display.

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The whole leg of ham is typically placed horizontally on a Jamonera and thin slices are hand cut and lifted individually.

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The little inverted umbrellas collect the fat dripping off the leg of ham.

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We saw several jamonerias in central Madrid but wondered if they are also set up in other parts of Spain.

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This is a big one and does not appear to be touristy.

Adios.

 

I was on a business trip in Seoul last August and had some free time to explore the city – in Gwangjin-gu (광진구 · 廣津區) a district that is mostly residential, but consist not of apartment buildings characteristic of the city, but of three or four-story row houses separated by small roads and alleyways.

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It was dusk when I arrived in the area. There were lots of restaurants and bars, just turning on their neons. Apparently, this place is known for its night life along with Hangdae 弘大 and Sinchon 新村 in other parts of Seoul, where there are universities.

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The streets were busy with cars – a major interchange is a couple of blocks away and there were lots of people, mostly locals. The metro line 2 runs on elevated tracks here and the elevated Konkuk University station 建大入口 is not far from Common Grounds.

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Common Ground (커먼그라운드) is a collection of pop-up stores housed in 200 large containers which is capable of transforming into different structures or moving into different places. Web site here.

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The containers were set up in a previously empty parking lot. When I looked it up online, Common Ground was not in the then current version of Goggle map Street View.

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It almost seemed strange that inside the perimeter of Common Grounds, the environment is calmer than the streets outside. Perhaps I was too early – the night was still young.

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In the middle is a weekend market that is held with different themes. There were also four food trucks each serving something interesting.

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Wonder truck selling BBQ and Kimchibus.

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Structurally, the containers are stacked two or three-storey high with footbridges linking the stacks.

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There is a 1-minute time-lapse video of the construction of Common Ground here on Youtube.

Cafe and restaurants are located at the top where natural light is welcoming.

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Internally, there was an atrium with stairs connecting the floors.

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In addition to lots of little stores, there were quite a few restaurants. It must be a great place to hang out in the evening, being outdoors and a little higher where one can see the people in the center below and the buildings in the background.

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Apparently, various events such as exhibitions and performances are held regularly. While I was there, there was an exhibition of art relating to The World of Warcraft in the Toy Republic shop/area and a performance space promoting the launch of a new version of the game.

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Despite the onslaught of mega-brands setting up shops ubiquitously across the globe in shopping malls, it was heartening to see the appearance of these smaller, independent retail enterprises. We saw such enterprises inside a bookstore in our last post about Eslite Spectrum in Hong Kong – click here.

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The place reminded me of another retail complex I visited several years ago also in Seoul – Ssamsagil  – it was more artsy – I did not go there this time. I will have a post about a similar set up in Hong Kong – PMQ.  Look out for it.

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This is no. 8 in a series of posts that is about funny business names or signs that we captured on film. From time to time during our travels, we come across English names that makes us laugh.

Check out Hilarity in names #1, #2, #3#4#5, #6 and #7.

Gentle Monster – Authorized Lens Service Store in Seoul

 

Xray at Zurich airport sells specs – these eyewear shops have imaginative names !

 

Meat Stop – a fast food joint in Moscow – bonus : there is a “pre-party bar” next door – I couldn’t decipher the cyrillic name.

 

iCracked – a store that repairs phone and tablet screens and sell protectors in Tokyo

 

This bar in Madrid is brutal.

 

“WELLMADE” in Seoul – something “for our work & life balance with Indian” ?  I cannot remember what it sells. The Korean sign above is advertising for a place called Geneva which provides cosmetic and dermatologic treatment including hair growth.

 

Lefties in Madrid

 

In the end, there is “anal” in Bilbao or perhaps it is “anai” or “ana1”  …

There are more to come …

Continuing from part 1 … as some of you may know, we have been putting up photos of bookstores from around the world. In addition to those posts that are linked in part 1, here are a few more that you can jump to: House of Books in Moscow, Alexandra in Budapest and the MIT Press in Boston.

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La Rive Gauche is the left bank or southern bank of the Seine which includes the arrondissements 5 (Latin Quarter), 6 and parts of 7 – generally known for its bohemian and anti-establishment roots. My hotel was right next to the University of Paris, La Sorbonne main building and not far from the Panthéon.

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Many of the bookstores are actually publishers – Editions Ivrea evolved from Editions Champ Libre which was founded after the May 1968 student riots in this same area of Paris.

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Editions Champ Libre and its founder Gerard Lebovici were famous for their associations with the socialist/communist writers and political movements. Gerard Lebovici was assassinated in the 1980’s.

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Just around the corner from my hotel is the Cinema du Panthéon, and down the street is a bookstore dedicated to the arts of film making. By the time I finished my meetings, it was dark already. So do excuse the lack of interior photos and the rather reflective window shots.

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It is rare to find a specialist bookstore these days.

Voila – La Librairie du Cinema du Pantheon.

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I remember one in the midst of the NY Broadway theaters – 46th between Broadway and 8th Ave ?

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It sells movie posters, postcards … and some specialist DVDs are available – films about films.

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“Paris In Cinema”, “Ciné Quiz”  … brain food for movie buffs

paris-books-25Monroe and Kubrick books …

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A series of monographs published by the Cahier du Cinema, titled “Anatomy of an Actor” – Clooney, Brando, Pacino, Kidman, De Niro.

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There are even film books written for kids, and movie guides for age 3-8 and age 9-12 !  – “200 films for you to see before becoming tall”.

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There were other specialist bookstores in the area, e.g., philosophy by J Vrin

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… Science and fantasy fictions … Galactic stories

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… books on Asia

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and law books by Dalloz.

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Among all these bookstores is a shop that provide photocopying and digital scanning services.

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I am sure there are a lot more bookstores in the area but I had to leave … my French needs to get better first before I come back to browse.

 

Fin

As some of you may know, we have been putting up photos of bookstores from around the world. This is another bunch to add to the pile. If you are curious, do click on the side bar and browse the filtered selections. Or jump to Rizzoli in Milano, T-site in Daikanyama, Tokyo, Livraria Cultura in Iguatemi, Sao Paulo, and Waterstones in Central London to start.

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Last year, I (Chris) had a business meeting in Paris near the university, La Sorbonne. Understandably, the area when I was staying is full of bookstores and publishers. So it was quite convenient for me to snap all these pictures.

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Due to the lack of time, the time of day of my walkabout and the weekend (they all close on Sunday), I really did not have much chance to enter the bookstores and browse – hence, the lack of interior photos and the rather reflective window shots.

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All these bookstores are all within 10 minutes walk max from each other.

paris-books-10Livres

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Editions Cassini publishes science books for the general public and those who are just curious about science.

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In its window were work by Richard Feynman on planetary movements, and books about The Prisoner’s Dilemma (Game theory), the beauty of mathematical formulas, and John Maynard Smith’s evolutionary biology (also based on Game theory).

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Editions Jacques Gabay publishes hardcore, academic mathematics and physics books by famous scientists – e.g., Einstein – the man himself.

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See their publications on the Theory of General Relativity, Tensor Calculus, Theory of Electrons, etc. – all fundamentals of modern physics. Just having these books on your shelf will increase your IQ.

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It was not all maths and sciences – on another street, there is Classiques Garnier. Since 1896, they have been publishing literary works of from around the world, French and foreign, ancient and modern, in reference editions.

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Some French classics – e.g., poems in latin by Victor Hugo. If you are curious, download their 200-page general catalogue here. One can find classics from as early as the middle ages and Renaissance reprinted in paperback for a lot less than 100 euro.

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Librairie des petits Platons –  publishes children’s books.

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There is a shop that buys/sells old and perhaps rare books and second hand books … funny that there was a recycling bin in front of it.

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I have been learning some French but by no means effective and definitely, my current ability does not allow me to enjoy these books.

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Perhaps I was not in the right places in the US, never have I seen so many bookstores in one area and there are so many publishers who also run a brick-and-mortar store with a street front.

More to come in part 2 !

We were visiting Hong Kong during the Christmas period. One store that we went to multiple times on this trip is The Eslite Spectrum store in Star House星光行, Tsim Sha Tsui.

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Its location just happened to be near the places that we were visiting and it is just a nice place to have a coffee while waiting for friends.

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Not only it sells Chinese and English books and magazines, it is a full-fledged lifestyle store.

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Hong Kong is very much filled with designer boutiques, department stores, malls packed with brand names along side tiny mom-and-pop shops, and even pop up stores. Eslite spectrum is a big bookstore with smaller stores/stalls/counters inside.

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On its website, it says “visitors can browse their way through the store’s inspiring reading landscape to explore and create their own version of the good life.”

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Mixing books and magazines with other lifestyle products is a current global retail trend – a bazaar selling books side by side with eye glasses, stationary, bags as well as house plants, cameras and even organic groceries.

eslite-7Farm direct.

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Wooderful Life sells a range of small wooden figurines. There is a fun display of scenaries with moving figurines.

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One can choose pieces to build a scene, including battery-powered base and magnetic pieces which move around the base.

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The cafe in Eslite Spectrum is rather small. Local old fashion metal shutters are used as decoration. It looked like the decoration is put there to hide an unsightly column – after all, the building is at least 40-plus years old.

While in Tokyo, we went to the T-site “bookstore” in Daikanyama by Tsutaya which has a similar idea (see post here). It had the most gorgeous space for a coffee shop in a bookstore. Tsutaya has just opened their first bookstore in Taiwan (January 2017). Eslite will have some serious competition.

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Eslite Bookstore was established in 1989. The first shop was located in Dunhua South Road, Daan District, Taipei, with a focus and emphasis on art and humanities-related books.

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It was the first to set up a 24-hour bookstore in Taiwan at its Dunhua store and later in Hong Kong, attracting lots of night-time readers.

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Freeze-dried fruits, vegetables and even shitake mushrooms – we bought a huge jar of it.

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In Hong Kong, the first Eslite bookstore opened in Causeway Bay in 2012. This 3-storey store in Star House opened in 2015. It stocks 200,000 books and 80,000 lifestyle items.

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Eslite as a brand is branching into the hotel and home interior businesses – specializing in warm, modern and sophisticated spaces for living and reading. Love it.

VitraHaus is Vitra’s flagship store on the Campus. One can see, touch, compare, test, and buy all of Vitra’s home and office furniture offerings here. We visited the Campus last year and this is the second of four posts. See the Campus overview here. Most of what is written below came from their web site which is very informative.

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Designed to display the furniture brand’s Home Collection, the five-storey building consists of stacked volumes with pitched roofs covered in charcoal stucco.

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The company commissioned Basel-based architects Herzog & de Meuron in 2006 to design the VitraHaus.

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Each gabled end is glazed and cantilevers outwards up to five metres, creating the impression of a pile of houses.

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A lift takes visitors to the fourth storey, where we started the circular tour. On that day, it was a space completed in different degrees of pink.

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Internally, spiral staircases connect the intersecting interiors.

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The furniture showrooms are seamless as one moves from one area to the next.

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The lower floor is dedicated to office furniture.

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In addition to the display area for the company’s products, there is an exhibition space for the chair collection of the Vitra Design Museum.

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These collectible miniatures are everywhere in this building.

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Technicolor Eames.

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One can order a custom-made Eames chair at the Lounge Chair Atelier. The choice of every component can be made by the customer.

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There is also the Vitra Design Museum Shop and a café with an outdoor terrace.

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There was so much to see and buy in this building.

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According to their website, the VitraHaus has a daytime view and a reversed night time view. During the day, one looks out onto the green landscape, but when darkness falls, the illuminated interior of the building glows from within, while its physical structure fades out. The glazed gable ends turn into display cases that shine across the Vitra Campus.

We did not stay late enough to see it.

While in Madrid, we hopped inside the Realmadrid official store on Calle del Carmen, just off Puerta del Sol.

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We are fans but not dedicated Real Madrid fans.

realmadrid-6Only Perfect Counts.

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This is the place to buy the official kit and gear.

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I liked the various designs of the official ball.

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Souvenirs galore.

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Champions League cup. We took pictures holding it in one of the final match. Click here to see it.

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Our open top bus tour took us past their home stadium – Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

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Yes, this is sports tourism.