Furnishing the Van Nuys Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library

Here at Agati, we are problem-solvers at heart. Every project energizes us because it gives us new opportunities to solve unique solutions and support a new community.

The Van Nuys Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library was no different.

In addition to some unique spacing challenges, COVID-19 brought even more installation challenges. Today, we wanted to share a quick conversation we had with Joe Agati, COO & Director of Design, about what made this project unique and how we overcame barriers to still bring it to completion.

Here are a few of the products featured in this space:

As always, we hope this inspires ideas for your own space!

What’s your favorite part about the Van Nuys installation overall? What are you most proud of?

I’d say my favorite part of the Van Nuys project is how the whole project came together. The team at Van Nuys did a great job creating an aesthetic that balanced contemporary pieces with a mid-century modern flare, all without losing the sight of making an inviting space for a wide range of patrons. One of the biggest challenges libraries, architects, and designers face in working on new and renovations of public libraries is trying to meet the needs of such a large demographic of people and creating real connection with the community. Van Nuys is a good example of blending a space to successfully address this.

What was the most unique aspect of the project? What sets Van Nuys apart?

One of the most unique parts about the Van Nuys project is the effectiveness in doing a lot with a tight space. While the library is not very large, they have been able to use furniture to help break up the space for different groups of people and work patterns, without making it feel like a crowded environment. Not always easy to pull off, but it really works here.

There were some operational and logistical challenges during this installation. What happened and how did Agati (and others) overcome those obstacles?

The install on this project in normal times would have been fairly straight-forward. Due to COVID, and not having the ability to travel, it was much more complicated. The part that became the most difficult was the large circulation desk that acts as an anchor piece in the space. Large desks can come with their challenges when installing in the field, especially with a stone top like this one had. Add in a travel restriction, and we had to get really creative. Through our Operations team’s hard work along with patience from the client, we were able to resolve the issue and complete the install successfully.

What did you learn from this installation?

We’ll say it again and again, but the importance of flexibility across the board. This install was both easy and challenging. There was a portion of the project that was standard (or slightly modified) furniture and the other portion was a custom desk. Because our people couldn’t be there on-site due to the timing of this install, we had to come up with a special solution just for this project to work with the local installation crew and guide them through the process of getting everything fit together and in the right places. Because we were flexible, we were able to make it happen, and I’m really proud of our team for that.

We love what we get to do, and problem-solving is always such a rewarding portion of our work. If you want to check out more of our projects, we encourage you to take a look through our Installation Gallery.

And if you’d like to talk about potential furniture solutions for your own space, we’d love to talk!