Every designer has their favorite bookstore, a place they go to savor the delight of different paper stocks, to admire various typographic treatments and cover designs, and to uncover great tomes investigating design history and theory in thoughtful detail. If you want to get to know a city’s design community, there really is no better way to do so than to explore its independent book and magazine stores: These are the source, after all, of great ideas. From ramshackle, historic zine shops to luxe, modern, and spacious art book temples, here’s our list of the world’s best design-oriented bookstores for the jet-set creative. (Disclaimer: We take no responsibility for any excess baggage weight you might incur as a result of these recommendations.)
Arcana Los, Angeles
Filled with over 100,000 books, with an enthusiastic and knowledgable staff, there is no better place to source rare and out-of-print volumes or hyper-specialized design texts than Arcana. A visual and intellectual treat, the store occupies a gorgeously designed gallery-like 5,000 square foot open plan room in LA’s historic Helms Bakery building, and its books are displayed on immense metal shelves that divide the space into intimate rooms, creating what the designer called “a forest of books.” Natural light floods the polished concrete floors, making the shop a retreat, and a rewarding space for local designers and international visitors to browse conceptual art titles, hard-to-find magazines, obscure catalog, and tantalizing artist monographs in monkish contemplation. As with all the greatest bookshops, you’ll visit looking for one particular title, and leave with something else entirely, possibly something signed and numbered and way over your budget.
8675 Washington Blvd, Culver City www.arcanabooks.com
Livraria da Vila Lorena, São Paulo