With the rise of the kindle and iPad, some troubling questions emerge for designers and architects to entertain. Namely, What to do with real books? And libraries? (or the bookstore for that matter). Designers appear to find value for people in ‘textural accents’, ‘distressed edges’, and bindings beautiful.
Hmmm. Was that a text-ural accent, or a texture-al accent?
…For the spa in Philippe Starck’s Icon Brickell, the icy glass condo tower in Miami, he was asked to wrap 1,500 books in blank white paper, without titles, to provide a “textural accent” to the space. He chose mass-market hardcovers that flood the used book outlets — titles by John Grisham and Danielle Steel, or biographies of Michael Jackson, he said — because they are cheap, clean and a nice, generous size.
For another Starck project, in Dallas, Mr. Wine used black paper to wrap the 2,000 vintage books he picked for their “distressed edges,” so they could be displayed backward.
Book lovers, you can exhale. The printed, bound book has been given a stay of execution by an unlikely source: the design community. In this Kindle-and-iPad age, architects, builders and designers are still making spaces with shelves — lots and lots of shelves — and turning to companies like Mr. Wines’s Juniper Books for help filling them.
Jeffrey Collé, a builder of vast Hamptons estates that mimic turn-of-the-century designs, wouldn’t think of omitting a library from one of his creations. A 16,800-square-foot Shingle-style house on 42 acres in Water Mill, N.Y., comes with a $29.995-million price tag and a library Mr. Collé had built from French chalked quarter-sawn oak; with about 150 feet of shelf space, there is room for more than 1,000 books.
It’s up to the buyers or their decorator to fill that space, said Mr. Collé, who has collaborated with Bennett Weinstock, a Philadelphia decorator known for his English interiors, on some of his libraries. Mr. Weinstock still shops in London to find just the right leatherbound look, he said. “Some people will insist that they be in English, because they want them to look as if they could read the books,” Mr. Weinstock said. “Others don’t care what language the books are in as long as the bindings are beautiful.”
Even a modernist builder like Steve Hermann in Los Angeles, who makes sleek multimillion-dollar houses for buyers like Christina Aguilera, includes acres of shelves in his high-end spec houses. Mr. Hermann designed a glassy Neutra-like house with a 60-by-14-foot shelving system, which has room for 4,000 books, he said.
“But who has 4,000 books?” he said. “I always stage my houses, so it was up to me to fill the shelves.” He ordered 2,000 white-wrapped books from Mr. Wine and deployed them in tidy, horizontal stacks (watch for the white-wrapped book to become this year’s version of the deer head)…