Mexican design firm Anagrama added wooden grid shell structure to the small Biblioteca Conarte library, which is located inside a heritage building in the Mexican city that resulted in a dramatic effect. Roberto Treviño, partner and architectural director at Anagrama explains.
Conarte is the council for culture and art in the city of Monterrey, Mexico. It aims to promote and stimulate artistic expression and supports the preservation and enrichment of culture. Our mission was to create a space that gives value to the experience of reading therefore, the design concept focused on creating a space that wraps the reader in.
A design-intelligent space was created for the bookshop and library granting value to the reading experience. We installed a dome of interlocking wood panels creating bookshelves that arch over a stepped reading area. Its angled compartments form shelves for storing books along its two sides, which join at the top to create an arch over a staircase. The dramatic arching membrane hovers over the curved book shelves, art fully and respectfully displaying the books on sale.
The flight has smaller stairs up the middle for walking on, while larger bleacher-style steps that can be used as seats are located on either side. This type of seating, commonly found in sports arenas, has been induced here to provide places to read. The gradient steps lead people up and down the wooden shelves and double as comfy seating along the way. Grey cushions are provided on the steps to make the reading area more comfortable.
Both the stairs and the surfaces behind the wooden grid are painted in light turquoise colour, chosen to contrast with the wood. We didn’t want readers or visitors to feel inside a traditional library, so we designed this almost surreal wooden structure with gradated cyan paint on the middle platform.
The bookshelves attend to more than just their basic function and were designed to simulate a dome that plays with the visual perspective. The stands incorporate a color gradient finish that attributes depth. The illuminated half circle placed in the back wall simulates the vanishing point of the structure, creating a perfect balance between color and perspective.
The turquoise colour continues onto one wall of an adjacent room, which is otherwise painted white and serves as a bookshop.Volumes can be found on wall-mounted shells and on a central storage island in the middle of the concrete floor.Original windows framed with dark wood allow natural light into this space,while the room that hosts the grid shell is lit artificially.
There is a transition from-the very old building into a minimal bookstore, which gives away just a little taste of what’s inside with this cyan-painted wall, then into this whole new world with no communication with the exterior creating an amazing reading experience.