By Udita Chaturvedi
Photography: Courtesy the architect
Read Time: 2 mins
Ar. Yoshitaka Uchino designs a circular bookshelf that functions as a partition and plays with light – as the mainstay of this compact home in Tokyo…
One major question that always bothers a book lover or a book hoarder is - ‘Where do I stack all my books?’ After all, not everyone has an entire room dedicated to just books.
Tokyo-based Japanese architect Yoshitaka Uchino, in one of her recent projects, has come up with a solution that takes 1800 turn (literally) on the problem and accommodates up to 500 books.
Serving both architectural and utility purposes, the arc-shaped wooden ‘Book Circle’ is primarily a bookshelf that subtly creates a partition between the kitchen and the living room, an area spread across 360 sq. ft., a perfect adjunct to the lumber flooring.
Inspired by renowned self-taught Japanese architect Tadao Ando and his style, Yoshitaka decided to experiment with columns and grids for this project. Using the ‘provision for books’ as the key design premise, she has worked on creating floor-to-ceiling columns and articulating then as book shelves in a semi-circular format.
The resultant Book Circle is executed in varying sizes, is divided into several columns (with a gap of 75 mm to 150 mm between each column) from floor to ceiling, reaching a height of up to 7 ft”, and allowing the otherwise open kitchen a semi enclosed space. The concave space behind the bookshelf is efficiently utilised to create a kitchen counter and shelves, thereby providing additional storage space.
One of the firm’s architectural themes is designing affluent spaces with lights and winds in bountiful. And this is accomplished in this project through the gap between the columns, which incidentally symbolise the basic structure of Japanese architecture. At night, the bookshelf serves a third purpose of transforming into lighting equipment, through which light splits as if through a prism.
The arc-shape is, in fact, conceptualised to add a dynamic yet calming lighting design that illuminates the entire room - rather than highlighting one area or throwing light in one direction—while creating a playful effect of chiaroscuro on the floor. Meanwhile, spotlights are also directed at the bookshelf from the front to ensure visibility even on the top shelves.
The Book Circle turns out to be a smart structure, which singularly and comfortably accommodates all the books; besides, it adds a sense of playfulness to the room without taking too much space.