Project DescriptionClouds Architecture Office was commissioned by St. Mark's Bookshop to design a new book store in a retail space in the historic First Houses complex in New York's East Village neighborhood. The brief stated that the book store accommodate events, therefore the perimeter of the space is wrapped with full height shelving, freeing up the interior as a flexible use space: variously stacked display units provide table display space while doubling as informal loose seating for readings and events. A windowed office space is created by pinching and pulling the shelves in towards the center of the space. The resulting diagonal walls activate the space while facing more of the shelves towards the storefront entry.
The book shelving is designed to stimulate the ocular experience. Vertical supports are pulled back to pronounce the horizontal edges of the shelving. Sharp corners are eliminated, smoothed into a continuous series of horizontal bands which allow the eye to glide around the space without visual friction. Vision is further privileged by adjusting the form of the shelving. Lower runs are canted so as to tilt book spines towards eye level of the viewer. Section titles are literally etched into the wood of the shelving to maintain the continuity of the lines.