Architecture

Designing spaces for reading

By 19 November, 2021 No Comments

In a field such as architecture where an understanding of theory needs to be transformed and materialised into a project, the art of reading is an essential tool. It represents placing the self in constant reflection, inspiring critical thinking amongst readers who attentively delve into the world of ideas.

Studio Infinity Reading room.

The Book Room / Studio Infinity’, 13th September 2020. Plataforma Arquitectura. Accessed on 10th November 2021. <https://www.plataformaarquitectura.cl/cl/947529/sala-de-libros-studio-infinity> ISSN 0719-8914

Reading is a vast open space and offers us the chance to wander in a land of inspiration that outpaces materials and structures, and where thought flies beyond and outside the text. It is truly a place moved by alternatives. A space for research and development that looks to the future.

World Bookshop Day was held on 11th November. The event tenaciously promotes spaces filled with ideas, concepts and magic: places filled with textual knowledge that inspire both personal and professional growth. In honour of this, here at The Decorative Surfaces we take a look at the growing knowledge offered by different architectural spaces, where a love of reading becomes the central tenet to satisfy the needs of visitors majestically and visually.

Spatial neutrality as inspiration

In a place where objects are important, users need to feel a sense of nurture and comfort through the design. In this sense, the order of elements placed inside is equally important as those that are earmarked for removal. One sublime example of how the presence of books is framed can be found at La Increíble.

La Increíble room and library.

La Increíble Bookshop / MS Estudio’, 24th April 2021. Plataforma Arquitectura. Accessed on 10th November 2021. <https://www.plataformaarquitectura.cl/cl/960513/libreria-la-increible-ms-estudio> ISSN 0719-8914

This bookshop in Mexico City frames an incredible dialogue of form and content with the very object of worship for reading. The design of the neutral space is based on timeless materials that spotlight its fundamental element: books.

The physical space unfolds inside in a cube that warmly embraces visitors inside. This cosy sensation formed by the lattice of shelving interacts with the expressivity of the spatial concept through the overhead ceiling in the same material. This creates a harmonious inspiring sense of space that foments and interacts with ideas and development. All of this is complemented by an interesting collection of texts carefully selected by the team.

Reading space by MS studio

La Increíble Bookshop / MS Estudio’, 24th April 2021. Plataforma Arquitectura. Accessed on 10th November 2021. <https://www.plataformaarquitectura.cl/cl/960513/libreria-la-increible-ms-estudio> ISSN 0719-8914

The cultural significance of reading spaces

One factor to consider when designing any project is the importance of meeting the needs of those who pass through, inhabit and immerse themselves in the surroundings. In this vein, culture is a crucial element when designing physical space. Creating a connection with visitors is realised through structure and layout, based on a specific context, where exploration is encouraged and sits alongside local cultural practice.

India is home to two spaces dedicated to culture that show an extraordinary adaptation to the cultural landscape where they are located. Both are designed as spaces for learning through reading, albeit with two distinct morphologies.

Reading room in India

The Book Room / Studio Infinity’, 13th September 2020. Plataforma Arquitectura. Accessed on 10th November 2021. <https://www.plataformaarquitectura.cl/cl/947529/sala-de-libros-studio-infinity> ISSN 0719-8914

The Book Room

The Book Room is located in Pune (India) and was designed by Studio Infinity in 2020. This space is extremely interesting thanks to its interior structure and layout. The double height is obtained through burrowing and creating small nooks that become interior features of the space. The comprehensive design maintains a love for reading at all times, ensuring that a warm sensation is conjured and invites visitors to enjoy their texts in a friendly dynamic setting.

Natural light floods in from a domed ceiling and arched façade that help frame the changing volumes. One of the most interesting interior nooks can be interpreted as space designed for flexible personal use, where a type of mini-amphitheatre rises on one side, whilst a shared reading table is positioned on the other.

Reading room created by Studio Infinity.

The Book Room / Studio Infinity’, 13th September 2020. Plataforma Arquitectura. Accessed on 10th November 2021. <https://www.plataformaarquitectura.cl/cl/947529/sala-de-libros-studio-infinity> ISSN 0719-8914

The building materials inspire visitors to read whilst the colour palette sparks a sense of magic. Brick, concrete and laminated wood make the most out of the budget whilst respecting the environment. The earth tones soften the space and move it away from any formal sensation of bookshops and libraries.

BookWorm

In turn, Mumbai (India) is home to another project positioned in the cultural sphere and adapted to human and spatial perspectives. The needs of this region are very different to our previous example: a high percentage of the population has difficulty accessing books and learning. This is why the framing represented a challenge for the Arquitectura Nudes practice.

BookWorm Pavilion by Arquitectura Nudes.

BookWorm Pavilion / Nudes’, 27th July 2021. Plataforma Arquitectura. Accessed on 10th November 2021. <https://www.plataformaarquitectura.cl/cl/965503/pabellon-bookworm-nudes> ISSN 0719-8914

At BookWorm, the studio proposed a fold-out structure where a sense of learning could be encouraged through creating an interactive space. Rather than intimidating, the space opens up and expands, embracing all curious visitors. It is a magical reading landscape that invites exploration, occupation and use. Public participation and interaction are spread over 36 metres of wooden modules that perfectly gel surroundings, people and culture.

Outside Reading room.

BookWorm Pavilion / Nudes’, 27th July 2021. Plataforma Arquitectura. Accessed on 10th November 2021. <https://www.plataformaarquitectura.cl/cl/965503/pabellon-bookworm-nudes> ISSN 0719-8914

These examples show how important it is to establish a dialogue that goes beyond seeing books as mere objects. Books open up our imagination to limitless pastures, transforming into places of inspiration, new ideas, development and innovation.

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