The world-renowned London Book Fair has announced its International Excellence Awards for 2022, naming Tallinn’s Rahva Raamat in the newly renovated Viru Keskus as the best bookshop in the world.
The London Book Fair selection committee commended the Rahva Raamat bookstore at Viru Keskus for “demonstrating the importance of sustainability throughout its refurbishment, combining ‘fusion environments’ that respect their roots, nourish nostalgia, and also provide modern technical services. These all combine to create a wonderful, cultural oasis for its community and customers, regardless of their language, interests or age, served by knowledgeable staff who are inspired to offer a level of service that matches the stimulating environment.”
According to Gertti Kogermann, the CEO of Viru Keskus, this acknowledgement demonstrates that the most recent innovations are taking the shopping centre in the right direction. “During the past year, Viru Keskus has focused its attention on revamping its physical space. This wonderful recognition received by Rahva Raamat, one of our key tenants, confirms that we have made some excellent choices. For us, the Rahva Raamat bookstore serves as a great example of our comprehensive renewal process that has been embraced by customers, delivers financial success and is recognised by the industry,” said Kogermann. “Revamping the layout of the bookstore is part of ensuring a more convenient customer journey and, as a result, we will soon be able to offer a completely new wellness and beauty centre on the other floor,” added the CEO of Viru Keskus.
Viljar Ots, Chairman of the Board at Rahva Raamat, is also delighted by this industry recognition and notes that the renovation has proven extremely successful. “Estonians have welcomed our new look and our sales have increased by 30% compared to the same period last year. Some customers have even gone so far as to comment via social media that the new look is just so nice and cozy that they would like to stay overnight. The latest customer rating is also very favourable, currently standing at 87,” said Ots.
The comprehensive renovation of the Rahva Raamat at Viru Keskus was completed in December 2021. Prior to the revamp, the store was spread out through two floors. Now it has been brought to one level, thereby improving the customer experience, making it easier and more convenient to explore the various sections. The lovely atmosphere is further enhanced by café Literaat and a number of quiet corners tucked away and between the bookcases. The new design of the Rahva Raamat Viru Store was done by UDDU architects, led by Mari Ots, with graphic design by Velvet.
The London Book Fair’s International Excellence Award will be handed over to the Rahva Raamat Viru Store on 7 April in London. In addition to the Rahva Raamatu Viru Store, the nominees for Bookstore of the Year were La Mistral in Spain and Norli Universitetsgata in Norway.
Photoes by Tõnu tunnel or Andres Teiss