Dating back to the 1920s, the Los Angeles Central Library is one of the city’s historic architectural and cultural treasures. It is the third largest library in the United State in terms of book and periodical holdings, and is the heart of the Los Angeles Library system which serves the most diverse population of any library in America. Recently, Cory Grosser + Associates (CG+A), a Pasadena, CA-based boutique design studio with global projects worked with the library system for a renovation at this Los Angeles facility.
The Library Store, a small gift shop nestled just off the main lobby, has long operated as a non-profit store where visitors can make purchases that directly benefit The Library Foundation, an organization that supports the public libraries of Los Angeles and the numerous free community services and events they provide.
The design concept for The Library Store was crafted from the inevitable challenge of combining old and new when introducing modern upgrades to a building that is almost a century old. With a goal of addressing this juxtaposition thoughtfully and elegantly, the team came up with a lenticular design scheme, utilizing custom angled walls and display structures to create two completely unique optical experiences within one space. As guests enter the store, they are met with attention-grabbing blue walls that speak to the Store’s brand and feel distinctly vibrant and modern. From the other side of the store, the blue is concealed by the angles and replaced by warm chicory-toned shelves inspired by original wood elements found throughout the library.
The bold yet seamless blend of modern and classic details results in a space that tells a story of always looking toward the future but never forgetting the past, an especially relevant message not only for the Central Library, but all of Downtown Los Angeles.
To complete a space with maximum design impact on a humble non-profit budget, CG+A donated $20,000 to The Library Foundation to help bring the project to life. Says Cory Grosser, “This is our second project with The Library Foundation. The first was Student Zones, a series of creative micro-spaces we designed to host free homework help and tutoring services for students, so we’ve had the chance to see firsthand how much this organization helps our libraries and communities. It’s awesome to see design have such direct positive impact.”