Librairie La Fontaine by Kawamura-Ganjavian
and NOR architectes

| 6 comments
 

A ring of shelves encloses a padded reading room at this bookshop by designers Kawamura-Ganjavian and architects NOR.

Librairie La Fontaine by Kawamura-Ganjavian

The Librairie La Fontaine is located in the SANAA-designed Rolex Learning Center on the campus of science and technology university EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) in Switzerland.

Librairie La Fontaine by Kawamura-Ganjavian

Kawamura-Ganjavian created curling bookcases in response to SANAA's building, which features undulating floors and ceilings pierced by cylindrical atriums.

Librairie La Fontaine by Kawamura-Ganjavian

Each shelving enclave has a different size and configuration, with some encircling banks of seating and others wrapping more concentric shelves.

Librairie La Fontaine by Kawamura-Ganjavian

Little book stands and trestle tables are also dotted around the store.

Librairie La Fontaine by Kawamura-Ganjavian

The bookshop was completed at the same time as the Rolex Learning Center in 2010. Read more about the building in our earlier story. We've also featured Kawamura-Ganjavian on Dezeen before - check out their exhibition stands made of sticks covered in velcro here.

Librairie La Fontaine by Kawamura-Ganjavian

See more stories about bookshops on Dezeen »
See more stories about books on Dezeen »

Rolex Learning Center by SANAA

Above: Rolex Learning Center by SANAA

Photography is by Anne Laure Lechat.

Here's some more information from Kawamura-Ganjavian:


Librairie La Fontaine is a historic bookstore inside the EPFL campus in Lausanne. Its venue moved in 2010 to the new Rolex Learning Centre designed by SANAA architects.

Taking into consideration the architectural language of the host building the bookstore is organised around 5 "pods" that articulate thematic categories. All pods are slightly different from each other, housing books or magazines on their outside and inside, and even a cozy reading cocoon.

Librairie La Fontaine by Kawamura-Ganjavian

The space moves away from a conventional aisle-and-bookshelf rigidity and creates a fluid environment with a rich variety of spaces where the customers feel at ease to explore and roam idly. The pods are as well the subtle source of indirect illumination. The project is enhanced with pieces of furniture (tables, benches, bookstands, dustbins, desk dividers) designed by the authors.

Librairie La Fontaine by Kawamura-Ganjavian

The complex geometry of the pods was made possible thanks to a smart combination of state-of-the-art numeric control manufacturing techniques and advanced Swiss cabinet-making skills.

  • fiorent

    I guess a round table in the center of the reading space will help. Me, personally, don’t feel comfortable sitting face to face (without any barrier) with others while reading.

    But yet, it is very nice though! I think I can’t stop browsing up books in this kind of bookshelf arrangement. A very tempting place :)

  • ultr

    Been around for ages?

  • itch

    The boosted white balance of the photographs suggests inadequate lighting inside the designed enclosures for reading or browsing? The design seems awkward and forced – while the outer surfaces are almost ideal for displays, the inner are often lesser so.

    Furthermore, there should be a purpose for using padding above head height. Overhead directional lighting could have been considered?

    • xtiaan

      Why does the padding above head height need a purpose? It would cut the space in half visually if it ended at head height, which defeats the purpose of these pods which is creating an inviting, all enveloping, womb-like space.

      So really it has a purpose, maintaining the surface continuity of the design and generally hanging out looking elegant.

      • itch

        Sounds like post-modern rationale.

        • xtiaan

          Well we are quite a bit beyond “form follows fuction” aren’t we?