Designed by the students of the AA Museum Lab, a Diploma unit of the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, the Nomadic Bookstore for Lars Müller Publishers is intended as a manifesto of the relevance of books in the context of the expansion of the digital. Located in the heart of the Brera Design District in Milan, in Piazza San Marco, the Nomadic Bookstore presented a selection of Lars Müller Publishers' books on Design, Architecture, Photography, Art and Society to the wide audience of the Salone del Mobile 2017.
Conceived as an itinerant urban structure, the hovering LED-lit roof of the pavilion projects into the city ever changing provocative titles of Lars Müller’s books and shelters the publications within a soft interior-scape. Inside the pavilion, the predominant use of cork with diamond-pointed ashlar ceiling details, allows for a uniform exhibition book display and provides an acoustically subdued environment within the hustle of the urban Milanese context. Intended as a prototype, in future incarnations the pavilion will transform itself at night by seamlessly morphing into a closed volume through the use of a pneumatic system.
Lars Müller says: "The concept of the 'Nomadic Bookstore' is first and foremost an expression of my determination to defend and promote the sensation of the physical book as an irreplaceable source of knowledge. It is a project of self-defense, so to speak, on the part of a small independent publisher searching for ways to respond to the changes in the book trade and to encounter his audience up close.
We travelled from Scandinavia to Arabia, from Istanbul to Lisbon, and settled in places both modest and sophisticated. We were hosted by like-minded people, and we left after a few days or weeks with new insights and with hundreds of new friends and supporters.
At the Salone del Mobile in Milano, the project really took off! The pavilion, specially created by the MuseumLab at the AA and built to perfection on vibrant San Marco square in the Brera Design District, became a magnet and attracted thousands of people over the six days of the furniture fair. Self-assured in its dimensions, sharp in its form, uncompromising in its role as a shelter, it became a stronghold for the precious but also fragile book. The bold digital letters running along the LED panels in Times Square dimensions contrasted with the pavilion interior, the subtle warmth of the cork and the soft acoustics. Stooping to dive into the space meant escaping from the noise and rush of the city and engaging with books in a truly exceptional environment.
The project gave the students who designed it a wealth of practical experience. The pavilion was not only a home for the book. It was also an architectural statement. The architecture was the medium, the book was the message.
As the publisher, I take pride in being part of this exclusive manifestation."
About the AA MUSEM LAB The AA Museum Lab (http://dip15.aaschool.ac.uk) is a Diploma Unit (15) of the Architectural Association School of Architecture. Led by unit master Giulia Foscari, with unit tutor Harikleia Karamali, and developed in collaboration with external contributor Ekaterina Golovatyuk, the course challenges Diploma students of the AA to develop, in parallel, a highly conceptual research and a design of a “live” project. Through the individual research the students reflect on the paradoxes of contemporary museums and their current ideological, cultural, social, structural and technological transformations. Their thesis subjects include investigations on neglected regional cultural ambitions as well as typological critical analysis. The “live” project, on the other hand, consists of the design of a bookstore – seen as one of the prosaic programmatic components of the ever-growing museums. Taken outside the museum boundary, the Nomadic Bookstore aims to celebrate the analogue qualities of books.
AA Museum Lab Students: Adrian Ma, Arslan Arkallayev, Federica Sofia Zambeletti, George Fergusson, Linus Cheng, Lloyd Lee, Ludovica Cirillo, Martina Contento, Olympia Simopoulou, Sebastian Serzysko, Tyler Camille Bollier