Big and small bookstores are enjoyable and relaxing places to visit. Browsing books that are neatly lined on shelves, making discoveries, and judging cover art can easily take an hour or so. The reality is, however, that if you are looking for a certain kind of book, you are more likely to find it on an online bookstore. Bricks-and mortar bookstores can’t compete against online stores with selection or prices, but they must find other ways to get people step in.
The Espresso Book Machine in Shakespeare & Co.
Large bookstores trust that cafés can draw customers in, but cafés are already everywhere – they are hardly the primary reason to visit a bookstore. When a bookstore has a café where customers can wait while the book they have ordered is being printed, it is whole new concept.
In New York, bookstore Shakespeare & Co has acquired an expensive machine that can print individual books at low price. The Espresso Book Machine is not a new invention, but the store concept of Shakespeare & Co is. Caleb Mason, who is a publisher and agent, visited the store in New York and he believes it can be the model for the bookstore of the future.
At Shakespeare & Co, you can buy a book that is not in the store. You order the book you want, and the Espresso Book Machine prints it for you while you wait. The store is located at 939 Lexington Avenue, New York.
In Paris, Presses Universitaires de France has acquired an Espresso Book Machine to compete against (none other than) Amazon. The Parisian bookstore wants to be able to deliver books to customers faster than Amazon that promises delivery in 24 hours. You can visit the Presses Universitaires de France bookstore at 60 rue Monsieur Le Prince in the 6th arrondissement.
In June 2015, three cities have Guggenheim museums. The cities are New York in the U.S., Bilbao in Spain and Venice in Italy. Abu Dhabi in United Arab Emirates has agreed to build a Guggenheim museum but construction hasn’t started. Guggenheim organized a design competition for a new museum planned in the capital of Finland, Helsinki. The winner, Moreau Kusunoki Architects , was recently announced, allowing us to compare designs of five Guggenheim museums across the world.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.
Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (planned design).
Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice.
The planned Guggenheim Museum for Helsinki.
Architecture always delivers a message that tells something about the city where the building is located. It also tells about the time and the trends, but in every way, public building is a statement. Look at me! This is who I am!
What do the five Guggenheim museum designs tell us? The architecture of New York, Bilbao and Abu Dhabi museums are asking for our admiration by showing how daring and prosperous the cities are. The designs of Venice and Helsinki museums are modest but solid and proud of their roots. Both Venice and Helsinki invite visitors in to the building, instead of asking them to admire art from the outside.
With or without a Guggenheim museum Helsinki is a travel destination worth visiting in northern Europe. Download a travel guide to Helsinki and take it along on your smartphone or tablet when you travel.
The status of Guggenheim Helsinki and Abu Dhabi can be followed at their own web pages.