Studio Hinge creates library spaces beneath tree-like wooden columns

Studio Hinge creates library spaces beneath tree-like wooden columns

Indian practice Studio Hinge has completed the Forest of Knowledge, a library in Mumbai nestled under a tree-like canopy of latticework.

The library was designed for the Indian Cricket Club, a 1930s member club housed in an Art Deco building in south Mumbai.

Forest knowledge library
The columns are created to resemble tree trunks

Adapting the third floor of this building, Studio Hinge sought to recreate the feeling of “sitting under a tree with a book” by reimagining the building’s concrete columns in the form of tree trunks.

Besides, the former Zumba studio has been updated to be used as a flexible space for book clubs, film screenings and workshops.

Internal library in India
Circular bookshelves located under the “canopy”

“India experienced one of the world’s harshest lockdowns due to coronavirus, and much of the library’s design was developed during this time, as it was clear that people were yearning to meet and share ideas in person again.” The studio explained.

“On a conceptual level, the design draws from nature, in particular the idea of ​​sitting under a tree with a book, and also borrows from the beautiful canopy formed by the ficus and gulmohar trees in the adjacent street.” .

Wooden shelves in the forest of knowledge
The shelves are connected to steel frames covered with wood panels

A steel frame covered with small wood panels surrounds each concrete column.

This incorporates shelves and extends upwards to create arched shapes across the ceiling which are then joined in the wood grid areas.

Curved bookshelves are arranged in a circle at the base of each column, with seating areas at the edges of the floor plate creating a variety of different conditions and atmospheres for visitors.

On the library floor, custom terrazzo tiles feature a pattern of green “leaves” with a circle of wood flooring used at the base of each column.

A visitor at the library in Mumbai
The floor is decorated with a leaf pattern

“Care has been taken to ensure that no bookshelf in the open space is higher than 1.2 metres,” explained Studio Hinge.

“This allows maximum natural light to penetrate deep into the scheme, and also allows most adults to have an unobstructed view while standing, while creating protected semi-private nooks for sitting and reading,” she added.

“It also provides a completely different perception of a library for children, where the space between the circular bookshelves is playful and labyrinthine in nature.”

Multi-purpose room in the Knowledge Forest Library
A wood panel ceiling adds interest to the multipurpose room

In the multi-purpose room, the ceiling is finished in an undulating pattern of wood panels and the walls are lined with cabinets to maximize storage.

Forest of Knowledge was recently longlisted for the Workplace (Small) Interior Design category of the Dezeen Awards 2023.

Elsewhere in Mumbai, The Act of Quad recently converted a former library into its interior design studio, with a translucent facade of white perforated metal sheets, and Malik Architecture converted an ice factory into an event space.

Photography by Sorian + Dang.

Project credits:

Design Team: Interior Architecture – Studio Heng, Praveer Sethi, Chintan Zalvadiya
Lighting design: Tracking studio, Tripti Sahni
Electrical and Mechanical Engineering: Ark Consulting

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