Saint-Martin Bookshop celebration on November 10th

Saint-Martin Bookshop will mark its opening with a celebration on November 10th, Saint Martin’s day. We want to celebrate Saint Martin’s festival, the children’s festival, by gifting all children and their grown-ups with traditional Saint Martin’s buns (craquandoules, follard, voelaeren & cougnou).

Saint-Martin Bookshop is a new space in Brussels dedicated to a curated selection of rare, historical and second-hand art books and artist’s books, editions and rare magazines. The books are for collectors, artists, curators, and book lovers.

Everyone is welcome.

Saint-Martin Bookshop has repurposed/given new purpose to the former headquarters of Martin Margiela, maintaining some of the traces of the Maison while also paying homage to the processes and ways of working of its previous occupant through its aesthetic and approach.

  

The well-known white house, striking amongst the brick and pale facades of the over-hanging buildings on this corner of the rue de Flandre, shaded by a hazel tree, was historically the first flagship store of the celebrated designer Martin Margiela. Spread over three levels, fitted with custom-designed illusionistic printed carpets and wallpapers, the first Margiela shop was a place of interest to international fashion pilgrims for more than 20 years and it constituted the blueprint for all subsequent Margiela boutiques.

It played an important role in the development of this part of Brussels as an art and fashion district and the Saint-Martin Bookshop aims to preserve and build on that legacy by maintaining it and giving it new life. Now its famous mural detailing the numbered ranges of MM products has been replaced by Saint Martin’s coat cutting sword. Inside, industrial shelves painted white hint yet again at Margiela’s transformative recycling methods, whilst the tables on which the books and editions are displayed in weekly curated selections are a homage to another ‘invisible man’, artist Stanley Brouwn.

  

As an art student in Brussels in the early 2000s, I remember long walks, when from the art school in the high part of the city, I would weave my way, often getting lost, from independent bookshop to independent bookshop, all the way down to the Dansaert area with its café’s and conceptual shop windows. Leafing through books, old and new, from specialist art bookstores to second hand bookshops stuffed all the way to the ceiling with dusty tomes, to the mirrors and gilded ceiling reflecting the expensive volumes in the Prince’s arcades, I learned from encountering these bookshops. The book ‘object,’ as Italo Calvino defined it, whose existence seemed at risk already before my time, has withstood the advent of new technology and even taken on new functions now that it is no longer a matter of course that we are able to experience art in galleries and museums. Printed matter, with its variegated sensuality, textures, printing methods, represents a sensory experience that we can still joyfully partake in. Saint-Martin Bookshop strives to make these experiences available to all. Since it opening its doors, the love of books has already fostered conversations, exchanges, and learning with and from visitors.

Text by Assunta Ruocco