L'Institut – Librarie Café par Cărturești, hosted by the French Institute of Bucharest, has its main goal the reinterpretation of the bookshelf - the core element of a bookstore – and its functional, structural and aesthetic redefinition, as well as of its relation to the hosting space and its users.
The site plays an important role in the conception of the library, that uses metal, wood and glass as materials. The two large rooms situated at the ground floor of the institute can be accessed from the two story high main lobby that is covered with a large skylight. The new intervention is in a dialog with this impressive architectural environment, expressing its own personality, but remaining respectful toward the 19th century building.
The bookshelves that define the bookstore, are distanced from the walls, being positioned perpendicular to them. This relation between the furniture and the walls express the temporary nature of the intervention and creates secondary functional areas, such as reading corner or protected access to the balcony.
The materials gain new roles in this project: metal plates are used for the shelves and between them are placed the oak structural elements. The backside of the bookshelf is made out of large glass panels that together with the horizontal metal elements and the vertical wood parts give the bookshelf an airy, lightweight and transparent silhouette. The decorative look is a result of the obligatory manner of the positioning of the wooden elements that can not be placed one over the other. The rythm of the black wood parts is given by the partition of the windows and interior glass doors.
The café and reading areas are part of the main function of the bookstore and offer the readers a complete view of the rooms.