Creative Process: From Inspiration to Realization

Residential Libraries

inspiration residential libraries
Inspiration- One of my creative processes when I start a new design assignment–for example, to design a contemporary residential library–is to go out and find visuals that inspire creative approaches in line with my client’s hopes for the room or space. “Something cool and edgy but still my own private retreat space.”

Listening to great music always helps. Hmmm, music to ponder new libraries with.
Try This:

For this special residential library, I wanted to propose a portion of one wall with a large mural of something sweet, soulful and inspirational, something that related to their love of reading, books and information, and solitude. So I offered, “How about something like this Borges poster/ quote for a tall wall beside a tall door, like a wing next to this French door?”

They loved the concept, and now I have to work: Find out if it is licensed and if so, where to license it for use, and how best to reproduce it 10 feet high by 4 feet wide. And of course, all importantly, how to install it so it is perfect and the execution does not take away from the image. All in a day’s work.

No color: A year or so ago, enterprising designers started shelving books backwards, edges of the paper out to the room, to give a uniform appearance, all shades of cream and white. It is pretty, but pretty useless if you actually like to find the book you want quickly.

And actually, in the 1500’s books were shelved this way (fore-edge out) to protect the rare and valuable spines. With many of the edges painted decoratively.

book placement

With color: Instead, many designers have always shelved books by color, and that can be okay, unless you are a stickler for either the Dewey decimal system, or your own categories of books: fiction, biography, history, etc. Unlikely as it sounds, when I was working abroad many years ago, the college library at the university shelved their books in English by color. It is pretty. One of my clients loves books in libraries by color, and did it on her own. Her historian husband has forgiven if not forgotten. Black and white do stand out; the grays and taupes sort of blend in.

residential libraries

The aesthetics are not the least of many considerations in designing for a library. The more practical concerns may not be as interesting to consider, but include figuring out how many linear feet of shelving we will need, the lighting, the value of appropriate seating, and more. In sum, one of the more interesting types of rooms to work with, for me, and one of the most personal.

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