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SW+A, library, Sopot

Multimedia for all: Library in Sopot

The current demand for multimedia libraries continues apace. In designing the Sopoteka library for the town of Sopot (from which the new facility derives its name), Sikora Wnetrza+Architektura let themselves be guided by an idea, one that in a quite matter-of-fact way positions the library's specified functions between the diverging demands and longings of the digital age. Along with providing a range of modern and professional hard- and software, eBooks and access to global databases, Sopoteka was in particular to enable a relaxed reading and learning experience in a harmonious and quiet atmosphere – placing it in greatest possible contrast to the shopping mall and adjacent railway station of the immediate surroundings.

The design specifications for the technically high-quality furnishings and fittings were largely determined by the colours of the nearby coastal landscape. Pastel shades ranging from white to sandy hues lend a maritime atmosphere to the airy and spacious furnishings. At the same time freely-positioned reading boxes are reminiscent in form of traditional roofed wicker beach chairs, while the roughly textured wooden boards along the band of windows recall Sopot's pier. Linear, selectively placed and sculptural lighting elements underscore the individual areas, contributing to the balanced overall composition.

It remains to be seen whether the Sopoteka's widely-ranging music, pictorial and textual offerings add up to what the architects describe as a cultural centre in miniature format. Whatever the case, the intriguing contrasts engendered by the library's combination of digital technology and analogue-inspired furnishings encourage and inspire dialogue.

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