Welcome back to the Agati Video Podcast, a space where Joe Agati, COO & Director of Design here at Agati Furniture, hosts conversations with designers, architects, and difference-makers to bring inspiration and education to your work.
“[Designing a library] is really a gift you’re giving the community.” – Maureen Arndt
For today’s episode of the podcast, we have a great conversation to share with Maureen Arndt, Founding Principal of 720 Design. From a fourth grader who discovered a passion for architecture at a summer camp to the leader of a design firm that has completed over 300 library projects, Maureen has a really unique story.
720 Design is a boutique planning, architecture, and interior design firm devoted to the development of modern library spaces where communities can gather to learn, play, dream, and explore.
In today’s conversation, we are exploring how to bring a unique community together for a library design project, what lasting design trends Maureen has seen as a result of the pandemic in both outdoor and indoor spaces, some behind-the-scenes from a rocket manufacturing plant being turned into a library in Tucson, questions she’s been asking at the start of new design projects, and so much more.
This was a great conversation. Check it out!
- “The library is the one government building people want to go to, right?”
- “We really want to look at where they are, where they’ve been, and where they want to go.”
- “It’s really all about flexibility, making sure a space isn’t just a single-use space, but can be a multi-use space.”
- “We’re seeing a lot more requests for casters.”
- “How do we create a social collaborative space for teens, but still provide a space that’s accessible for others who want to check-out an interesting young adult novel?”
- “During the pandemic, people started using the library’s website more. That trend has continued to go up.”
- “When you can see the cover, books are checked-out more.”
- “This is really a gift you’re giving the community.”
Our Key Takeaways:
1) After people have been apart for so long, there is a desire to come back together. (But in different ways.) Rather than one large community room, Maureen is seeing libraries asking for multiple smaller rooms for group gatherings. Additionally, she’s seeing more need for spaces that flow between indoor and outdoor use.
2) The co-locating of library spaces seems to be a more common trend. Maureen discussed how they are currently working on three different library projects that are being co-located within a senior care center. We’ve done the same thing on the first floor of a children’s hospital in Philadelphia. There might be some interesting trends being solidified here.
3) Another value to outdoor spaces is internet access during a library’s closed hours. This was something we hadn’t personally thought of. When it comes to equitable community access related to design, this can be a great part of that conversation.
4) The value of engaging the community in a library project can’t be overstated. Like Maureen said, “This is really a gift that you’re giving the community.” Engaging them in the process makes that process even more effective and meaningful.
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