Tradition meets modern at the Kevin Street Library
The building itself is a modest but important one, and though not a protected structure, it has served as a public library for over 100 years. It boasts beautiful reading rooms that have been hidden from public view for many years. The interior is bright, airy and charming, with substantial natural light.
The following requirement was an element of the tender brief put forward by Dublin City Council when looking for a designer for the renovated Kevin Street Library space.
“The library needs to be more to its users than just a place to undertake necessary tasks; it needs to be a space that offers a desirable experience, a place that is inviting, comfortable, and refreshing. It should encourage users to enjoy the luxury of stopping, relaxing, and thinking or reading for a while in a reflective space.
“It should feel like an encouraging, productive place, which should be someone’s first choice when holding a meeting or event. It should be the beating heart of its community. The library should be a home away from home. It is important that the furniture and fit-out reflect the honesty of the building, complementing the interior without resorting to faux historicism or pastiche.”
Thedesignconcept presented the winning bid and the end result is something extremely special. The newly refurbished library now incorporates an adult library space where modern furniture blends seamlessly with the traditional feel of the room. Shelving is flexible and can easily be moved to cater for public events. High-backed chairs with acoustic properties and fitted tables give users a sense of privacy and somewhere to use their own laptops or devices.
An adjacent authentic reading room has been renovated, where users can sit, relax and enjoy reading, with beautiful walnut and leather chairs that perfectly complement the restored shelving.
There is a display area with virtual exhibitions running on digital screens alongside physical displays. Computers are housed downstairs on a stunning ‘tree inspired’ desk unit with integral overhead lighting. The first floor has a suite of PC’s along with private study spaces with specially designed furniture.
A special place for children
“To engage children, it’s important that the furniture provided for them be dynamic, interactive, and novel. It’s crucial that the children’s section of the library genuinely caters to their needs, rather than just being a smaller version of the adult space.”
This was the brief for the aspiration of the children’s zone, and the end result features a giant 84” TV Screen, PC’s and an interactive digital table, a feature storytelling chair and vibrant elephant chairs for the little ones to play or sit on and flick through a huge selection of books. For the more energetic there’s even a SLIDE - a feature that will be remain a fond memory throughout the lives of the children who use it.