Invest in culture
Ever since we opened our doors, we have been a meeting point for readers, authors and lovers of the arts and letters. With pleasure, we take on the role of cultural ambassadors in the city of Porto and, as such, running a culturally relevant program. Through books and their histories, we also wish to actively contribute to recovering the heritage of cultural institutions.
Relevant cultural programming
We provide heavy backing for a strong cultural program that, based on the book, reaches out to all the other forms of art. Between 2015 and 2020, we held a total of 125 events, with over 500 cultural participants. We run a monthly event highlighting one particular author – our Author of the Month –, we host book launches, debates, spoken concerts, and staged readings among many other cultural events.
Through the doors of Livraria Lello there have already passed figures such as Pedro Mexia, Adriana Calcanhotto, Suzy Menkes, Mafalda Veiga, Valter Hugo Mãe, Nikias Skapinakis, Álvaro Siza Vieira, António Vitorino de Almeida, Richard Zimler, Mário Cláudio, José Rentes de Carvalho, João Tordo, Miguel Araújo, Kátia Guerreiro, Enrico Baleri, Pedro Abrunhosa, Joan Punyet Miró, Gonçalo M. Tavares, Marisa Liz and António Lobo Antunes.
With the global pandemic imposed restrictions in 2020/2021, we switched our programming into an online format and geographically expanded the range and reach of our events.
Fostering the intimate link between literature and the arts, we welcome art installations both in our window displays and in other featured spaces inside Livraria Lello. In 2021, we commemorated our anniversary with one of the highest impact initiatives within this framework: our iconic stairway was painted yellow and grey; the colours of the year as nominated by Pantone. We did this as a scream of warning over the importance of the book right at a moment when a series of historical bookstores have been closing their doors. This also represented a clamour of hope for a future return to normality as presaged by the arrival of vaccines against COVID-19 and the pandemic that has so devastated the cultural sector. This artistic intervention came with the signature of the renowned designer Eduardo Aires and counted on Pantone as its official partner.
Acquisition of the Sá da Bandeira Theatre
In 2019, at a public auction, we purchased another icon of the city of Porto, the Sá da Bandeira Theatre with its over 150 years of history, for €3.5 million. We did this because we perceive a duty whereas other saw merely a burden: respecting the “soul” of the theatre and continuing to dedicate that monument to culture.