The two storey Chichester Library has received an extension and refurbishment to make it DDA compliant and a lighter, brighter experience for library users. The project was funded by West Sussex County Council as part of a programme of capital improvements throughout the County. The first thing you notice and an obvious feature is that the building is totally circular and virtually all glass. One of the objectives of the refurbishment was to make the very best use of this natural light streaming through the building from the windows and skylights. Space and function were combined with lower, lighter shelving to guide eyelines through the open space.
Gareth Edmunds, Principal Librarian, Operations said: ÔÇ£We didn’t want any barriers in the library. We want library users to see things for themselves and make the space as light and accessible as we possibly couldÔÇØ.
Demco was already a familiar name to the library team and this, combined with visits to other libraries provided the foundation for the partnership on the project.
The shelving was designed to fit the circular contours of the building and with the library’s low level, overhead spotlighting it makes an attractive feature against the natural brick walls. Other freestanding bays were clad in a maple finish and additional stock display included openwork metal media towers and light quick pick browsers. Pebble stools, stylish Sorens sofas and easy seating with chrome legs in a mix of blues, greens and aubergine colours set against the natural brickwork gives the interior a modern, architectural feel but still paying homage to its sixties heritage.
Gareth Edmunds adds: “We wanted to make the best use of budget while retaining the architectural features of the building. The furnishings were chosen to mirror the greys and blues of the outside sky which are reflected in the glass exterior. The whole look is very natural but with its own feature and style. The public like the colours, the openness, light and space and the staff like it because it is robust and easy to work in and with”.