El Ateneo Grand Splendid in Buenos Aires opened in 1919 as a palatial theatre and has since been converted into a bookstore. Originally designed by architects Peró and Torres Armengol for Max Glücksmann, it features expansive ceiling frescoes painted by Italian artist Nazareno Orlandi, and caryatids sculpted by Troiano Troiani, resulting in a ecclesiastical structure.


Fast forward to 2000 and the building was leased by Grupo Ilhsa who decided to renovate the space, converting the 1,050 seat theatre into a book and music shop with the help of local architect Francesco Manzone. Manzone removed all of the chairs of the 2,000 m² (21,000 ft²) performance venue and replaced them with shelves. Much of the architectural splendour of the original structure, including artistic and sculptural details, as well as the auditorium lighting has been maintained.


The theatre boxes remain as private reading rooms, whilst the former stage, has now been transformed into a café.
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Although El Ateneo Grand Splendid may no longer see the greats perform there anymore, at least the public can delve into the great classics in one of the most grandiose settings ever.
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