Design at work – a spatial analysis of a journal room at Hvidovre Library

by Birgitte Klæbel

Institution: Roskilde University
Year: 2014
Keywords: social design; unsocial design; interior design; function; initial idea; material look; actual use of design; third place; commodification; perception; atmosphere; Oldenburg; Kopytoff; Böhme; spatial design; library; spatial design and society; public libraries
Record ID: 1122402
Full text PDF: http://rudar.ruc.dk/handle/1800/17449


This article examines the Danish public library located in Hvidovre through the use of the interior design within one particular part of the library, the journal room. Hvidovre Library is designed to be a meeting place for all types of people and to help establish social relations. Based upon the concepts of third place and commodification the article explores the spatial design and its actual contribution to the social function of the library. The analysis is based upon observations at the library and interviews with the users of the library, some of the staff members and one person from the administration of the library. We have also made one expert interview with the business manager Per Sørensen from the design company Modul Retail Solutions, which is the company that, in collaboration with the administration of the library, designed the journal room. We argue that the initial idea, the material look and the actual use of the design do not correspond with each other and that the reason for this being different kinds of definitions of what it means to be at a library and different perceptions of how to behave in the specific space: the journal room.