Inside what may be the prettiest bookstore in the world…
…is what has got to be one of the world's most beautiful staircases.
Not impressed? Look at it from this angle:
The bookstore's name is Livraria Lello, "Lello Bookstore" in Portugese, and it's located in Porto, Portugal's second-largest city.
It was designed in roughly 1906 by one Francisco Xavier Esteves. He was neither an architect nor an interior designer, but an engineer.
And it's no wonder: The thing is a structural marvel. From this angle below, look at how little support there is beneath the "wings," yet it's stood for over a century.
I would have trouble designing this in CAD, yet Esteves worked this out on pencil and paper.
You reckon he worked it out first in plan view, or elevation?
Livraria Lello reportedly does not permit photographs to be taken inside the store. But people passing through cannot help themselves. Lucky for us.
I have never seen this style of stairs before. It really is beautiful and it makes the library look really beautiful too. The red carpeting really reminds me of the staircase on Harry Potter. I could actually see this kind of stair layout in that world because they had some pretty remarkable things. http://qldstairs.com.au/about/
Rain, I am always so happy to see articles about Portugal!! Did you go there? It is such a beautiful place, and whenever I'm there, I walk through the small cobblestone streets and say to myself, "people live here? people live here!" I haven't spent much time in Porto, but the next time I go, I will visit Lello's for sure!!! Thank you again for bringing more awareness to such a beautiful country!
"Rumor has it that J.K. Rowling’s inspiration to write Harry Potter has begun in Porto, particularly at this library. The well-known writer lived in Porto for 10 years working as an English teacher in the early 1990s and she used to drink a cup of coffee at the second floor of Lello’s bookstore. There are indeed great similarities between Lello’s bookstore staircase and the one described in Hogwarts."
Amazing! And even though it's not such a masterpiece of engineering I'm keeping Victor Horta's Tassel house staircase at number one :-)
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