Multi-purpose NYC bookstore recycles materials to maximize tiny space (Video)


Small spaces present a worthy design challenge -- not just for residing in but also for retail. This lovely urban example comes from Van Alen Books, a specialized bookstore in New York City that stocks volumes in architecture and design.

For their tiny 400-square-foot space, architects from LOT-EK were able to overlap zones, by fitting in not only display, storage, reading areas but also a staggered, mini-ampitheater for events, made out of 70 recycled doors. Check out this video from Spaces TV that shows this awesome multi-purpose interior:

The space is filled with recycled materials: for instance, the solid wood doors are stacked and bolted to the ceiling, allowing for the safe seating of up to 30 people, plus the display and storage of books.

The doors themselves were donated by a Queens architectural salvage yard called Build It Green! NYC, which gathers material from demolished buildings and repurposes them.

It's neat how the ampitheater has a flip side: underneath it are a series of fluorescents which provide dramatic backlighting, while also illuminating another small seating space and office underneath.


One might ask though, why a bookstore in an age of increasingly electronic interaction? LOT-EK explains:

Van Alen Books serves more as a statement in support of the public meeting space. Van Alen Books addresses the point that despite the fact that print book sales are slowly dwindling down, especially with the rise of the Kindle, public spaces where people can meet and discuss is what makes book stores relevant.


Despite its small stature, the store's yellow colouring and design strategy declares a bold confidence for the future of books. Opening in 2011, the bookstore is an extension of the Van Alen Institute, a non-profit organization that attempts to engage public discussion about architecture. Check out more over at Van Alen Books and LOT-EK.

Tags: Architecture | New York City | Small Spaces | video


treehugger slideshows