How an Iconic Bookstore Transformed Into a French-Design Gallery

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The space has been reimagined by architect Rafael de Cárdenas into a polished, milky-white gallery.Photo: Pablo Enriquez /Courtesy of Demisch Danant

I always wondered what was behind the blue curtains of 30 West 12th Street’s ground-floor window, with its discreet gold lettering. Turns out it was home to S.F. Vanni, one of the oldest Italian bookshops in America, which opened in 1884 on West Broadway and moved here in 1931. Alec Wilkinson’s wonderful New Yorker story “Italian Hours” tells the full history. Now it’s been transformed into a new space for Suzanne Demisch and Stephane Danant’s gallery Demisch Danant.