This bookstore opened on 13th January 1906, in Rua das Carmelitas, in Porto. The building was designed by the engineer Xavier Esteves, in neo-Gothic style. The most noteworthy decorative elements of the façade are the phytographic ornamentation (two painted figures symbolising Art and Science by José Bielman), the corbels and the lace work on top of the building.
Inside, the Gothic-style lacy woodwork and the stucco-worked ceilings highlight the central staircase, the iron and glass stained-glass window, the gallery framed by large suspended chandeliers and the busts of illustrious men of letters by the sculptor Romão Júnior, which are placed on the pillars, framed by baldachins. It was purpose-built for the use it has known until today, and was owned by Ernesto Chardron, later by Lugan & Genelioux, Suc. and only in 1919 did it pass to Lello & Irmão, Lda.
Twenty years after the first restoration work, it is subject to a new intervention, now more profound, between 2015 and 2018 – work of rehabilitation of the roof, the façade, the lantern and the stained glass window, later interior conservation and restoration work. Existing pathologies are corrected, the original colours of the façade are restored and the stained glass window is recovered, restoring all the missing elements. All the woodwork and stucco are restored. An air conditioning system is introduced, completely hidden in the existing elements, and all the other networks serving the building are reviewed. New lighting is studied for the space, as well as signage designed specifically for the Bookshop.
The Saramago Room will be created in 2020 and the Gemma Room in 2021, which only correspond to the redefinition of the use of existing spaces, adapting or creating the necessary shelving.
Livraria Lello awaits classification as a National Monument and is considered one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world.