How do you get the bookscape right?
The FLAME Vivekananda Library, with its state-of-the-art building, an impressive array of books, academic journals and digital sources is fast developing into one of the largest and finest institutional libraries in the country. Books from humanities, social sciences, applied sciences, management, media, journalism, literature, environment, religion, languages, amongst various others adorn its shelves. In FLAME University, Pune, the FLAME Vivekananda library is the pride of the campus, spread across 36,000 sq. ft. with study spaces for more than 420 readers.
Strategizing on the environment branding, way-finding and signage system for this inspirational structure was ABND’s responsibility. Grasping an understanding of the space and architecture was primary. It allowed us to have a design solution for the way-finding and signage system of the library which fit in seamlessly with the architectural grandeur of the expansive space.
The idea behind the design solution was to create a system that was functional and simple without taking away anything from the existing aesthetic of the space. Every design element was conceptualized with utmost sensitivity to contribute towards the openness of the space; the clever dichotomy of being camouflaged along with being easily comprehendible. One of the pillars running through the entire length of the building had names of significant authors that should read in one’s lifetime and they were engraved on the wall before it was painted so as to not stand out as a distracting element in the study space. The signages for the separate rooms were simply engraved on metal in black or outlined in a glass with the brand colour-orange. We realized that the sunlight streaming in from the glass windows shouldn’t be intervened with too much of colour or heavy graphics on the doors.
Strategic planning of a bookscape is essential for the future management of space in a library. With the architect and the librarian’s aid, we ensured that space was designed such that no further expansion would be needed in the next seven to ten years, even with possible resource/material additions. We established multiple categories for the books too, with colour codes and numbers, as per international standards.
Inside the library, there are three discussion rooms which can be booked for group work sessions. The library houses a computer lab in its premises where students and faculty members can browse varied online resources. There’s a media section too, comprising of the CDs, VCDs and DVDs of films of foreign and Indian origin. The Reprographics section is where students can order copies of books, journals or digital material, solely for the purpose of private study. The Library Café and the Lounge at the ground floor provide ample avenues and options for refreshment and relaxation.
The sophisticated and stately architecture of the FLAME library is crafted by B.V Doshi, one of the best minds to have envisioned educational spaces in India. Thus it was a great challenge for us to match up our design aesthetics with his understanding of spaces. From the point of entry to the exit, the books that one picked up at the aisle to the walk taken from the computer room to the cafe to interacting with the librarian- the entire experience of reading and learning in this awe-inspiring study space had to be brought out.