If you ever wanted to experience a late-night bookstore-browsing experience, then don't miss Taiwanese mega bookshop chain Eslite Spectrum's much-awaited opening in downtown Kuala Lumpur this Saturday (Dec 17).
As a launch day special, Eslite Spectrum KL, located at The Starhill mall in Bukit Bintang, will be extending its hours right up to 1am to welcome book lovers, night owls and culture vultures.
A series of 30 arts and culture events have also been planned to coincide with the bookstore's opening month, including an array of live music sessions, art exhibitions, book launches and workshops.
At a bookstore preview and walkabout today, the media got a glimpse of the size and scale of Eslite Spectrum KL, which is the Taiwanese brand's flagship store in South-East Asia.
In Kuala Lumpur, Eslite Spectrum has a culture and lifestyle hub layout, with books occupying 35% of its 70,000-plus sq ft (6,503-plus sq m) floor space. The rest is occupied by cafes, fashion, arts and crafts, stationery and gift items.
Eslite Spectrum also worked together with Taiwanese architect Powen Hsiao and well-known Malaysian design brand Loka Made to create the bookstore’s fundamental structure including a 60m arched wall of red bricks spanning across the bookstore, ring-shaped ceilings and colourful canopies.
On the book racks, you'll find a vast selection of Chinese, English and Bahasa Malaysia language books.
To add cute literary charm, the bookstore is also heavily inspired by Italian novelist Italo Calvino's classic Invisible Cities. If you take a walk through Eslite Spectrum KL, you'll see how the bookshop space is divided into four main city themes, each with its own distinctive style: City of Arches, The Floating City, City of Rippling Waves, and City of Eternal Day.
The City of Arches is home to a huge multilingual book collection, complete with Eslite’s list of "recommended reads" curated by its staff members every month.
Not to forget young readers, Eslite Children is a dedicated space for children’s literature and bestsellers.
The children's space will also host monthly thematic exhibitions and storytelling activities for the entire family to enjoy great reading fun together.
A venue for lectures, book talks, concerts, movie viewing and more can be found at the Eslite Forum area.
If you're into stationery, then Eslite Spectrum’s "writing boutique" will lure you in immediately.
The space resembles an urban speakeasy bar, offering unique stationery items from 36 countries and a range of Insta-worthy wrapping paper, gift cards and ribbons.
For the launch programme, you can also check out award-winning Taiwanese illustrator Jimmy Liao's in-store exhibition, featuring paintings, prints, and two massive sculptures.
Among the other names set to make special in-store appearances include Chinese singer Victor Wong, Singapore Literature Prize and Golden Point Award winner Chow Teck Seng, Taiwan-based Malaysian poet and scholar Sen Kim Soon, Taiwanese publisher Hung-Tze, Jan, and writer Betty Wu, among others.
As a bonus for the coffee connoisseur crowd, Eslite Spectrum KL will also house hip coffee outlets, including Taiwan's Come True Coffee, and The Expresso Bar (by Korean brand Bean Brothers).