Capelle aan den IJsselThird Places 16 Apr 2018
When it turned out that the library at the city heart of Capelle aan den IJssel had to hand in a lot of square meters, reinterpreting the space was an absolute must. However, decreasing in spatial volume also held an opportunity for this library: to become a public hotspot.
A reinvention of form and function
Capelle aan den IJssel is a town and municipality in the western part of the Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. The library is based in the city heart, near to the popular shopping center Koperwiek. Due to financial cuts, the municipality bought the library building. The library now rents back the space from the municipality, however with a decreased floor space: only 1.490 sq. m., instead of the former 2,350 sq. m. This is not only a significant difference in space, it also holds the risk of becoming ignored, because a financial bank and (future) cafes and restaurants are currently settled in the ‘shopping windows’ of the building. This required a well thought out makeover that keeps the library visible, even with the lack of a high budget.
It was not only about redesigning the space, it was mainly about rethinking the library’s function, creating a super attractive library with a mental address; a genuine destination.
Can’t beat it? Join it! It’s one of my favorite personal mottos… In Capelle it turned out that the high building space with industrial looks appeared to contain more beauty than imagined. By adding light colors, and putting the emphasis on its solid construction the attractiveness of the space became extra visible. The height has been accentuated by an exciting layered structure which enables people to sit also in a comfortable way in the back of the building – creating ‘a waterfall of faces’ welcoming entering visitors.
Low in, high out
Scaling down, opening up and creating intimacy help to give a large nondescript space comprehensible proportion. The use of mainly light colors – the creative idea of co-creator Stonepark Interiorbuilders – emphasizes openness and gaiety. A balanced mix of materials and furniture, like lazy Chesterfield couches, industrial look desks, and classic vintage chairs, creates a new coherent totality that can’t be overseen. Height differences provide allurement to enter the space and reduce distance between up- and downstairs. The relaxed atmosphere of the building ensures an easy to use low-threshold interior that helps people to connect easily – ‘always strive for imperfection’. The renewed interior, combined with an attractive program, has transformed the library of Capelle aan den IJssel into a local hero; in an inviting place to meet, read, learn, visit an exhibition, and… to enjoy a good cup of coffee.
Bibliotheek Capelle aan den IJssel is a co-creation of aatvos (design) and Stonepark Interiorbuilders BV (production).