Changing perceptions of libraries


This new build library in the centre of a suburb of Nottingham was a perfect opportunity to create something that re-wrote the ‘library rule book’. We wanted to create a bright vibrant space with a WOW factor, something that changed the perception of libraries as dull, boring places.

Good for library users and librarians

We carefully designed the layout to create areas for the cafe, study, computers, relaxed seating, and children’s areas. Each area feels separate yet enjoys good sightlines from the library reception desk.

Using a neutral colour palette for the flooring and shelving and introducing colour in the soft furnishings and large-scale wall graphics, helped future-proof the library. In 10 years, it can easily and cheaply have a new face with new graphics and soft furnishings, whilst the expensive items (the shelving and flooring) are neutral so won’t date.

Design that is community focused

Strelley Road is a vibrant community library that is absolutely loved by the community it serves and the staff who work there. It re-writes the library rule book and sets a new standard for community libraries going forward.

The deputy leader of the council said he was blown away by the quality and design of the space, calling it a work of art. He went on to thank us for creating such an inspirational space for the community. In the first week of opening 2,490 books were issued and 302 new people joined the library.

Home from home

The children’s area has a bespoke tree, complete with an integrated reading seat, surrounded by bean bags. Children and staff love it.

The computer area has walls of pictures, giving a living room feel to what is usually a dull space.

Bring on the joy

The community and staff are really proud to have this library as their own.

We printed huge photographs of people’s faces on the blinds to shade the full length external windows and designed huge murals and signage and guiding which all work together, giving the space a genuine feeling of joy. The curved shelving is all on castors, making them easy to create an open space for events and performances, creating a truly flexible space.

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