Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The V&A Library... my favourite place in London??

I have been a book lover from an early age, encouraged by a family that devour books to the point that the book shelves are now three deep and the latest read is carried around like a cherished pet until completed.

For that reason there is nowhere I would rather be than a library – the smell, the history, everything about them fills me with joy! London boasts a wonderful selection all across town, however for me it doesn’t get much better than the National Art Library at the V&A. They have an unbelievable selection of design, art and craft books that have to be seen to be believed. As it is a reference only library all books need to be viewed within the reading rooms, which are just gorgeous, like something out of a film (why can I only think of the library in Disney’s Beauty in the Beast right now??). For years I dreamed of being a member without realizing it was actually a public library and easy enough to join online. It was the perfect escape from the summer crowds when I visited the museum earlier today and the perfect place to write this blog!
Tucked up at the bottom of the stairs leading to the library, there was a structure titled Ark by Rintala Eggertsson Architects, Norway. This was part of a mini exhibit showcasing 7 architects structures that are asked to ‘examine a notion of refuge and retreat’. I can best describe the 'Ark' as a magical, mobile, tree house of books! Once inside, you’re surrounded by the colourful, decorative spines of thousands of books and at once you forget the chaos of the museum outside. So much so that I climbed to the very top, picked a book at random and curled up in one of the enclosed, cushioned seats. Unfortunately the structure can only hold 4 people at a time and I felt pressured into leaving 20 pages in. Well worth a look though!