El Ateneo Grand Splendid (El Ateneo for short) is one of the most famous bookstore’s world, and also one of the most visually stunning. Found in Buenos Aires, Argentina, El Ateneo houses 120,000 books in a nearly 100 year old former theater built by Argentine immigrant and phonographic and film pioneer Max Glücksmann.
After arriving in Buenos Aires in 1890, Glücksmann contracted architects Peró and Torres Armengol to design the theater, which he used to put on tango shows as well as the home of his radio station. An interest in the burgeoning film industry prompted Glücksmann to convert the theater into a movie theater, which showed silent films with live tango orchestras. In 1929, the first film with sound shown in Buenos Aires, La Divina Dama, debuted at El Ateneo, known then as Teatro Grand Splendid.
In the 1970’s the theater was briefly reverted to a live performance theater, and then again to a movie theater until 1991, when it closed due to a stagnant Argentine economy. The theater was scheduled for demolition until the Ilhsa Group, which owns Argentina’s Ateneo bookstore chain, stepped in and bought it, reopening it in its current form at the end of 2000.
More than 3,000 people visit El Ateneo every day to marvel at its architectural beauty. The stage from the theater is still intact, and is home to a small cafe with live music. A few theater boxes still remain as a reading area for patrons, and the ceiling features a stunning Romantic-style fresco, painted by Italian Nazareno Orlandi, in celebration of the end of World War I.
Advantage Book Binding has been in the book binding business since 1985, when we were founded on the principle “we do a quality book on time.” Since then we’ve seen plenty of changes both in and out of the industry. While some have sounded the death knell for books and other physical media, we believe that the fact that we continue to be an industry leader into the 21st century is a testament not only to our longevity as a company but to that of our craft. We think it’s important to keep books and physical media on the shelves, which is why we dedicate ourselves to providing you with the highest quality book binding and post press services available.