The Sea Library in Awashima
by ETAT arkitekter

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A brass table with a gently rippled surface provides the reading area of this Japanese library dedicated to the sea and designed by Swedish studio ETAT arkitekter (+ slideshow).

The Sea Library in Awashima by ETAT arkitekter

Architects Erik Törnkvist and Malin Belfrage of ETAT inserted the small library inside a 1920s schoolhouse on Awashima Island - one of the 12 islands within Japan's Seto Inland Sea that is hosting the Setouchi Triennale 2013.

The Sea Library in Awashima by ETAT arkitekter

As one of a series of projects organised for the art exhibition, the Sea Library is a place where visitors are invited to donate any books containing history or stories of the ocean.

The Sea Library in Awashima by ETAT arkitekter

The rectangular brass table fills the centre of the space, allowing enough space for eight people to sit and read together. The architects have also added a rippled brass screen in front of one wall, creating wavy reflections of the interior that are reminiscent of water.

The Sea Library in Awashima by ETAT arkitekter

"[The] refurbishment is designed to highlight the material and spatial qualities of the existing wooden building and to enhance its relationship to the sea," said Törnkvist and Belfrage.

The Sea Library in Awashima by ETAT arkitekter

Brass brackets support wooden shelves along the edges of the room, providing storage areas for books that have been collected in various languages.

The Sea Library in Awashima by ETAT arkitekter

The Setouchi Triennale takes place across three seasons and will continue until 4 November. Other architectural additions to this year's show include a pair of galleries by Kazuyo Sejima and public toilets framed by a single curved wall.

The Sea Library in Awashima by ETAT arkitekter

Photography is c/o ETAT arkitekter.

Here's a project description from ETAT Arkitekter:


Library in Awashima

ETAT arkitekter/ETAT Architects has been commissioned by Art Setouchi to design a library located on Awashima Island in the Seto Inland Sea, Japan.

The new library is housed in an existing heritage-classified building from the 1920's located on the port's sea front. ETAT's refurbishment is designed to highlight the material and spatial qualities of the existing wooden building and to enhance it's relationship to the sea. For new additions the predominant material is brass, which is used as wall surface, for fittings and for the 3.6 x 3.6 meters reading table.

The Sea Library in Awashima by ETAT arkitekter
Cross section - click for larger image

The library is a regional development project in order to revitalise Awashima and the project is part of the art and architecture triennale Setouchi International Triennale 2013.

The library was opened in early October 2013 and has since attracted more than 1,000 visitors.

  • Steeevyo

    I love brass. You can sell anything brass to me.

  • Bella

    The seats look very uncomfortable.

  • Wärrifei

    I wonder if brass is as cold and uncomfortable to work on as a glass table top.

    • Niklas

      Initially yeah, but after a little while it starts to warm up. And it kills the germs!