Lamplight Books is situated around a concrete courtyard, in a building designed by renowned architecture firm Patterson Associates, in the central Auckland suburb of Parnell.
It has clean lines and an expanse of marble and glass. There’s none of the stuffiness or claustrophobia sometimes associated with bookstores, with their infinite pages stacked floor-to-ceiling in dense spaces and scrawled recommendation tabs.
Its name was inspired by a “feeling of comfort, of being under the light of a lamp, looking for answers and exploring new worlds,” according to owners Melanie O’Loughlin and Courtney Smith.
The pair met working at Auckland’s Unity Books and decided to combine their skills (O’Loughlin holds a master of creative writing from the University of Auckland while Smith works nine to five with a publishing house). They wanted to create their own environment where customers could connect with their dream reading material.
Lamplight houses many large-format art and design books on its sweeping, spacious shelves. Because of this, it has become a destination for publication launches and talks that celebrate the book as an art form.