Modern interior designers have experienced and shaped the evolution of public libraries. These educationally-oriented buildings have been transformed from highly institutional and bland spaces into vastly more creative, communication-oriented venues.
While library spaces are finding renewed success in the public realm – a surprising fact given the nature of modern learning and entertainment, which have both moved away from the physical book and closer to virtual learning styles – they are also finding popularity in the modern household.
According to Australian interior designers, library refurbishments and renovations are gaining traction in modern homes. While libraries have long been an element of the housing realm, they are often limited to more grandiose developments, finding their roots in ancient manors and remaining commonplace only in the largest, poshest living spaces.
Currently, however, Australia has seen a massive increase in in-home library redevelopments. Acting as an extension of the traditional study spaces, in-home libraries are as much about form as they function, with those who opt to include a library in their houses looking to the aesthetic and those designing the spaces earning praise.
One of the reasons as to why this trend has become so apparent nationally, is due to the very trendy ‘geek chic’ design formula that is currently in fashion.
In modern society, higher education is being praised and seen as an almost compulsory standard, with modern trends seeing books, globes and other such education-oriented paraphernalia used as furnishings. For this reason, the general public is swaying towards the inclusion of these spaces in their homes.
While this is certainly a key factor in the widespread appreciation for library design, in terms of more classical design ideologies, the library space offers clients a room that is an extension of themselves – a creative space of sorts offers unique personalisation to any housing development.
According to interior designer of the rich and famous, Stephen Shadley, the inclusion of libraries, or library zones”sets the mood for the house.’
These spaces are not limited to books, as evidenced in Shadley’s redevelopment of actress Diane Keaton’s library, which is filled with artefacts and lamps that are particularly personal. Much like an art studio, the library space is proving to be an outlet space for clients, with interior designers given the freedom of personalisation when delivering libraries for the private realm.
Moving a little closer to home is a redevelopment project undertaken in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia. The small house is owned and was redesigned by lifestyle and interior design blogger Kate Buckley with the aid of David Burton of Burton and Williams Architecture. The home is contextualised to reflect of its inhabitants, and that contextualisation is in large part made possible by the library space.
In speaking to Ivy and Piper magazine, Buckley admits that this was a key goal when redesigning the house to include this unusual space.
“I love going into someones home and looking at all of their little treasures and photos and books and artwork – at the things they’ve spent a lifetime accumulating – and getting a real sense of who they are,” she says. “I hope our house has that feel.”
While many modern critics argue that a basic laptop can easily offer as much information as a full library space, distinct library spaces allow for extended thought processing. They also further optimise the positive aspects of the study or relaxation taken place in them.
It is always a positive experience when interior design realms expand, and the growing trend of in-home library development is no different. When delivered in a considered manner, these spaces exemplify design that encompasses both form and function, offering a modern and exciting flip on an ancient space, opening up new possibilities for designers and putting the fun back into educational spaces.