The digital revolution may be here to stay, but when it comes to paper books, many of us are still fans of the printed word. Yes, electronic books save trees and paper, but sometimes, there's nothing like holding a real, good book in your hands and leafing lovingly through the pages (not to mention the hidden environmental footprint of e-readers).
To promote the love of books in an urban setting, this open outdoor library has popped up in the city of Varna, Bulgaria. Created by a team of local designers with wood, using parametric design tools, the structure welcomes the public to wander and peruse its open shelves.
Located in what is called "the marine capital of Bulgaria," the shell-like Rapana Street Library was conceived as a way to encourage people to spend some time with real books. Constructed with 240 wooden pieces that were cut using a CNC machine, the undulating framework offers places to display up to 1,500 books prominently on one side and a place to sit and read on the other, either in the shade or in the sun. The configuration of the project makes it feel like it is part of the public urban space.The design process included the use of parametric design tools such as Rhinoceros 3D and Grasshopper, and it took designers Yuzdzhan Turgaev, Boyan Simeonov, Ibrim Asanov and Mariya Aleksieva of Downtown Studio about 20 iterations before they settled on this particular form, which echoes the sea snail shells one might find on the beaches of this city, sitting on the edge of the Black Sea.
Thoughtful design projects like this can really help make cities feel more livable and culturally interesting: throw in some books, maybe a pop-up café or food truck or two, and you've got a happening spot for everyone to enjoy. More over at Contemporist and the Rapana Street Library (Facebook).