The “P. M. Beghi” Civic Library is the result of a complex architectural project to restore the south warehouse of the former Fitram area, by the architectural office Atelier(s) Alfonso Femia. The new library maintains the architectonic characteristics of the disused structure intact whilst adding a new volume, which is the expression of contemporaneity. The new building was intended to be a place for relations, sharing and re-discovery. The self-same architectural dynamics have been designed as a relation between the pre-existent and the contemporary addition. The desire of the architects was not to superimpose by dominating, but by creating a relation between the existing structure and the new one, the exterior with the interior and the urban landscape with the territory.
The library covers a total surface of 1560 square metres, across three floors. The ground floor contains the spaces used for the reception, with the lending and self-lending stations, the newspapers and magazines area, the computer stations, the children’s room, the canteen and the toilets. This level also contains the 72-seater auditorium. The first floor is home to the large reading room, a second reception, the computer laboratory and the offices. The final floor houses the library, the consulting room and the historical archive of the La Spezia Institute for the History of the Resistance and Contemporary Age. On the ground floor and the first floor there are also informal seating areas, complete with tables. The lighting, that differs based on the visual tasks carried out in the different spaces, is provided by industrial products, especially two luminaires designed specifically for this space by Alfonso Femia. The Drop By Drop pendants with opal screen provide the general light for the double high spaces, in the transit areas and in all the consulting rooms; spaces where long and demanding visual tasks are not carried out. The luminaires are hung at different heights with steel cables and they create bunch-shaped structures, in which the chrome version is also installed to provide the accent lighting. The Laser Blade Swan pendants, that use the Opti Beam optics of the original Laser Blade High Contrast, have been installed in the reading areas, because they provide a total control of the luminance and they can also be installed in areas where computer screens are used. The luminaire is used in the version with one or two arms, with a unique suspension system that recalls the shape of the origami swan, from which it takes its name. In the games room we used Laser Blade High Contrasts, in the minimal version with one compartment, to recreate the effect of a starry sky. In the auditorium, to ensure the right flexibility, we used IN30 in the dimmable version, in a continuous line set-up. The lighting of the reception area is provided by recessed Laser Blade High Contrasts, with 5 compartments and an extremely low consumption of 10 W. The reading rooms on the last level, right under the sloping ceiling, are lit with pendant IN30, in the High Contrast and general light version, to recreate the effect of diffused light that large windows give. The resulting space is light, luminous and extremely enjoyable, because the idea behind the project is that spaces dedicated to reading and culture are, most importantly, socialisation spaces.
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