El Ateneo Grand Splendid is a bookstore in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The bookstore is a branch office of the book chain El Ateneo, and it is located in an old theater called the Gran Splendid. In January 2008, the Guardian called this bookstore the 2nd most beautiful bookstore in the world. The building was designed by the architects Peró and Torres Armengol for a businessman called Max Glucksman (1875-1946). It was inaugurated as a theater in May 1919.
In the year 2000, work started on transforming the old theater into a bookstore. Bookshelves outline the walls of the galleries and the main arena. The former stage has been transformed into a bar, where one can eat and drink something while reading a book from the bookstore. Nowadays, El Ateneo Gran Splendid is the flagship bookstore of the El Ateneo and Yenny bookstore chain, receiving over a million visitors every year.
The ceiling in itself is a work of art. The dome measures 20 x 19 meters, and was painted in 1919 by Nazareno Orlandi. The painting is an allegorical representation of peace, and was painted to commemorate the end of the First World War. Peace is represented by a feminine figure, surrounded by representatives of the world.
The front side of the theatre, which was formerly the lobby, is also used as part of the bookstore.
For more photos, see this gallery. The bookstore can be found at Avenida Santa Fé 1860, in the Recoleta neighborhood.