Last year, I was asked to design a new library for Grange Farm Primary School. With no specific brief, only that the library, at the time, was dull, and that it wasn’t an enclosed space, I had the task of creating a welcoming environment for the children, and encourage them to read.
After spending time meeting, discussing, and brainstorming with a group of children from each year group (years 1-6), I felt like I had gathered an accurate representation of the overall opinions and ideas of the children, and what they would like to see in their school library. The theme that we came up with consisted of book pages, trees and book worms. The concept was that book covers would form leaves in the trees, and the book worm would appear to weave in and out of the wall trapping various book pages on the way. All the book pages visible were recreations of actual book pages, in an attempt to get children at the school interested in certain books, most of which were chosen by the children that I spoke to before designing the library.
To begin the process of designing and creating for the library, I started with sketches. Armed with photographs of the space, measurements and a sketchbook, I created various designs and sketch for the different parts of the wall that were going to be covered, with the aim to make the space interesting and inviting in mind. After selecting which designs I would use, and approving them with the school, I began the final drawings. Using pen and watercolour paints, I created the designs scaled down to the wall in sections. These were then scanned and printed onto wall vinyls(the bookworms) and digital wallpaper(the main design), which myself and artist Brit Scott then installed onto the walls over two days.
The teachers have since told me that the library is now a far more welcoming area for the children, and they often read books based on pages they’ve seen on the wall, as well as ‘naming’ the drawing of children reading the books, part of the design, drawing likeness with their own friends.
The library project was a success, with the main goal of creating a brighter, more exciting and more inviting space achieved, it is clear that staff and students alike are pleased with the final result, and that the library project clearly created a welcoming space, and encouraged more of the children at the school to read.