Van Alen Books

Van Alen BookstoreClick to enlarge

Walking over to Chelsea the other day, I happened upon this very eye-catching and unique storefront on West 22nd Street. Turns out it’s the recently opened Van Alen Books, a bookstore and public reading room devoted to architecture and design publications. Designed by the architectural firm LOT-EK (the same architects behind the design of many impressive container structures, among other projects), the small space is predominantly occupied by the dramatic steps/seats made of recycled doors (if you enlarge the photos you can see where the hinges and strike plates were) stacked and bolted together to form a triangular hanging platform which felt surprisingly sturdy when I climbed up. The delightfully welcoming and enthusiastic young woman at the store told me that there will be a lecture series starting this Wednesday and the steps will be used as seating for the audience, stadium style.

If you’re in NYC and interested in architecture or design (which is likely, if you’re reading this blog), this may be a place you’d like to visit. The lecture series schedule isn’t up on the website yet, but you can call the number on their site to find out more. Van Alen Books is located at 30 W. 22nd Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues.

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