We at beijingkids love our libraries. That’s why when Keystone Academy invited us to the grand opening of their new library we rushed to check out this new space of learning and study that everyone had been talking about for the past couple of months.
As we move further and further into modern life, libraries are becoming less about their massive collections of books and more about being a place to contemplate in a serene environment, uninterrupted for hours on end.
The environment and aesthetic of this space designed by Luke Hughes, a Cambridge educated designer from London, gave us exactly that kind of feeling. It struck the perfect balance between being a place where one could exhaustively search through rows of books from their collection or connect online to all of the research possibilities that exist in that digital realm. So, as much as it is a traditional library, the space also reflected a sense of nowness by exhibiting all of the necessary qualities of being a modern hub for learning.
One of Keystone Academy’s most appealing characteristics has been its ability to create a campus identity that is split right down the middle between East and West, and this also is very apparent in the design of the library in everything from the quotes on the walls to the art and prints on display throughout the space, and even the door handles shaped like dragons at the entrance.
For the event, we had the pleasure of receiving a guided tour from the designer where he explained some of these cultural elements at length. This was followed by an explanation of the complete process from getting commissioned by Keystone for the project to multiple journeys out to Gaobeidian looking for some antiques to populate the library. We were very impressed with the thought and attention to detail Hughes used in this project.
The tour was topped off by a very appropriate talk from Simon Winchester, celebrated author of The Man Who Loved China and Krakatoa. All in all, it was a great afternoon of design and literature appreciation.
Photos: Kipp Whittaker