Children's Library in Stockholm

The luma library
The luma library in Stockholm, designed by Marge Arkitekter and Urban Design, might just bolster the city's reputation concerning libraries. A few years ago, an ambitious competition for an extension to architect Gunnar Asplund's iconic Public Library came to nothing, revealing the local government's inability to address the need for a more contemporary gathering place for people to access new media. Yet Stockholm remains committed to the institution, even if it embraces its more traditional role, by tucking new branches designed by high-profile architects into subway stations to reach out to frazzled Stockholmers.

By embracing a dynamic program to reach a vastly different demographic, the 630-squere-metre Luma - located in a heritage building in the gentrifying Hammarby Sjostad district rather than inside a subway station - goes several steps further. That it's meant for kids becomes immedi­ately obvious from the entrance. Since little ones have a habit of playing wherever they're supposed to hang their clothes, the architects inserted here a bright green 'tree house" with space for parking strollers underneath. The interior's concept is to create islands of activity where kids can read, play, study alone or in groups and surf the internet. The most prominent of these, a reading area for children up to three years old, sits under a giant red "light bulb" in the middle of the library hall. The recurring motif recalls the building's past as a light bulb factory, providing a means of educating little ones about local history. Even the study rooms that line the open library hall have openings shaped like the soon-to-be defunct light source that in cartoons has always signified a brilliant idea popping up in one's mind. It's perhaps also a sign that the public library remains a genius concept, even when many other cities have a dimmer view of its social value.
The luma library
The luma library

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