Welcome into the New Year! It is an exciting time of fresh starts, new beginnings, endless possibilities… and of course, new years resolutions. 

Sustainability and wellness have been the front running themes which dominate resolutions globally over the past few years, but what if you wanted to tackle both in one snappy approach? The answer is simple: read more books. 

Let us explain… From a wellness perspective, the benefits are endless:

  • It can be used as a form of meditation as it clears mind of thoughts
  • Aides sleep
  • Helps with improving concentration
  • Can help to delay the onset of cognitive decline
  • Provides an escape from day to day stresses

To combine reading with sustainability, simply do not buy anything new. This can be done by starting a book club with friends to do monthly book swaps, shopping in charity book shops, or visiting libraries. For encouragement and inspiration, we have rounded together some of our favourite libraries from around the world. Lets take a look…

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  1. Tianjin Binhai Public Library, China by MVRDV

The concept of this library is based solely on a cascading bookcase which provides a platform for all of the architectural necessities (such as stairs and seating), is a storage feature which is read as a single entity to house all books, and diverts the eye to the show stopping atrium. A complicated idea to combine all aspects of the library into one component has been executed so simply and meticulously – this one is certainly on our travel bucket list.

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  1. National Library of France, Paris by Bruno Gaudin Architectes

It has taken 15 years to renovate the National Library of France in Paris, and we can see why! The delicate consideration that such a project requires to respect the historic and cultural significance of the building, whilst making it viable for future generations of use by modern society, is a massively complex task which Bruno Gaudin Architectes have phenomenally achieved.

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3. Deja Vu Recycle Store, Shanghai by Offhand Practise 

Although perhaps not a library, this store is worth including as it aims to challenge the “shabby” reputation associated with second hand shops. Rather than imposing shiny, sleek newness onto the books, they have created a rustic browsing experience with book crates. It is easy to see how this concept was inspired by the idea of rummaging through a library.

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4. Cornell University Library, New York by Wolfgang Tschapeller

The structure which houses over 125,000 books is a singular floating structure suspended from the roof beams. To emphasise the concept of transparency and open vistas, the structure stops 4 ft 10 inches above the floor – which is our favourite feature as it really elevates the design (no pun intended!) and executes the structural engineering incredibly elegantly.

publishers loft

5. Publishers Loft, New York City by Buro Koray Duman

And lastly, if you are looking to create your own library at home, this 111sqm apartment in New York is an exciting source of inspiration. The couple wanted to hold on to their 2,500 books so the architects designed a bespoke bookshelf which wraps around the perimeter of the space and it rotated at a 45 degree angle. This is ingenious idea means from one side, all the books are on display, whilst from the other side, they cannot be seen – giving a healthy balance of the two.


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