Partnership with PANTONE® turns the iconic staircase of Livraria Lello yellow and gray

Both an outcry and a call for attention for the importance of books, and of hope for the future, Livraria Lello opened today, on its 115th anniversary day, with the iconic red staircase painted with the PANTONE® color(s) of the year.

Partnership with PANTONE® turns the iconic staircase of Livraria Lello yellow and gray

In the celebration of its 115th anniversary, Livraria Lello wanted to celebrate with the same boldness of the 1906 inauguration. Livraria Lello opened this Wednesday, revealing the reason for having been closed in the last eight days: the iconic red staircase was painted in yellow and gray, the colors of the year chosen by Pantone. This intervention will stay on until April.
 
“We painted our staircase in a wake-up call for society to recognize the importance of the Book. We want them to look at us and remember all the bookshops in the world, who heroically resist the adversities of today”, said Livraria Lello’s Presidente of the Board of Directors, Aurora Pedro Pinto.
 
“We also wanted to mark, in one of our most iconic elements, the commitment to contribute to make 2021 the year of strength and hope, which this combination of colors symbolizes”, she added.
In partnership with the world's leading authority on color trends, Pantone, Livraria Lello marks its iconic staircase with the colors of the present: the Pantone color of the year 2021. In fact, there are two colors - yellow (PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminant) and gray (PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray) -, which combine themselves in a message of strength and hope. “Eternal and inspiring” colors, as described by Pantone, characteristics that could not match better with Livraria Lello, and that will remain there for the next weeks.

It should be noted that this is not, however, the first time that Livraria Lello's staircase changes its color. In the 90s of the twentieth century, restoration work was carried out and the emblematic staircase, until then brown, becomes, by mistake, red. Before the mistake was undone, the famous Portuguese sculptor Mestre José Rodrigues saw the staircase with the new color. As he was dazzled, the red remained until today.

In 2021, the goal of this transformation is, however, different. Highlighting the staircase with the Pantone colors of the year, Livraria Lello marks one of its most iconic elements in an allusion to the path it wants to take. For this reason, the reveal of the installation on the Livraria Lello’s staircase features a performance of the song Over The Rainbow, from the film The Wizard of Oz by Marisa Liz and Tiago Pais Dias. This connection between the colors of the year and the book The Wizard of Oz, published by Livraria Lello, is inspired by the Yellow Brick Road, that led Dorothy to the Emerald City.

“The 115 years we are celebrating today represent a number not only of hope but also of confidence in the future. We trust in the ability to collectively know how to help with efficiency and proportion to the recovery we all need so much, and in our talent to be individually resilient, focused on being who we are, and with energy to aim to be even more. More than a future full of the past, we are a past full of the future”, emphasized Aurora Pedro Pinto.

The world's leading authority on color trends highlighted this year, for the second time in its history, two colors: yellow (PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating), which inspires “optimism and happiness”; and gray (PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray), a symbol of “security and stability”. The double Pantone color of the year 2021 thus seeks to respond to the yearnings of the world for this year, after the year of 2020 scared by the difficulties of a global pandemic.

The artistic intervention was developed by the world-renowned designer Eduardo Aires, and the technique used by the conservation and restoration team had never been used in Portugal. It included the blasting of the iconic red paint on the staircase, using a specific laser by technicians from outside Portugal, who joined the Portuguese conservation and restoration team. Altogether, a team of six people was assembled, dedicating 160 hours over eight days.

In total, 80 liters of paint were used, with yellow (Illuminating Yellow) and gray (Ultimate Gray) paints provided by Tollens, a company in the Cromology Group, Pantone's official partner.

Thus, in addition to the boldness of the intervention, this installation resulting from a partnership with Pantone was carried out with the utmost respect for the building that houses the Most Beautiful Bookstore in the World, classified as Public Interest Heritage. The staircase of Livraria Lello remains in these colors until April.