Books and libraries are a natural pairing. But this venue is so much more than just a building that houses literature. With a focus on multilingual provision, this is a meeting place that serves an important social function, contributing to both democracy and cross-cultural interaction. A place that is open to all.
Världslitteraturhuset in Gamlestads torg in Gothenburg is an accessible library, in more ways than one. Thousands of travellers, aboard both commuter trains and trams, pass by this rust-brown modern building every day. It’s simple to get here, to take advantage of the library’s multilingual offering. You will find something for everyone, regardless of background or age – books, films, games, audio books and newspapers in a number of different languages. The aim is to provide a setting with a modern, safe and attractive feel.
“A library needs to feel inviting. It should be an appealing place for both adults and children. It is extremely important to ensure we provide the right conditions to help library staff attract people to reading, and in particular young people,” says Petra Skoglund from Arkitektbyrån Design, which developed the interior design vision for Världslitteraturhuset.
Input interior served as project manager for procurement, delivery and installation of all furnishings for the project. Anna Mark-Ljungqvist, Project Manager at Input interior in Gothenburg, explains that quality and sustainability were key points when it came to choosing products, and as a result the interior features a large proportion of Swedish and Nordic brands.
Intimate and reassuring
The library is characterised by a welcoming and homely feel. The floor area of just over 1,300 m2 is spread over three floors, which helps to give a more intimate feel. Ensuring visitors and staff feel safe in this public environment has also been an essential factor to consider when choosing interior fittings.
“In order to ensure an unobstructed view throughout the premises, we took great care in determining the height of the bookshelves. We have positioned tall shelf units along the walls and low shelves in the centre of the space. Attractive seating areas that feel enclosed also contribute to the sense of security. Readers can be in their own little bubble without having to consider who is sitting alongside,” says Petra.
The carpets set the tone for the colour scheme, which extends over the three floors. The colour palette is broad but muted, with green textile flooring for the children’s section and grey-blue for the world literature section. The auditorium, which can seat 60 people, has an aubergine floor covering. These colours feature throughout the interior, accompanied by different shades and hues for items such as chairs and linoleum table surfaces, giving a soft impression.
Exploring the joy of storytelling
The most lively and adventurous area of the library is the children’s section. It provides a variety of seating options such as enclosed easy chairs, a cosy reading island made up of mattresses at a variety of levels, an oval storytelling room and a book train, where children can give vent to their creativity and energy. The soft green textile flooring encourages shoes to be removed and increases the feeling of cosiness. A fun and variable environment far from the norm of a still and silent library. The excellent visibility means that parents can leave their children to make discoveries at their own pace without any worries.