The Ark Booktower

Rintala Eggertsson’s ‘Ark’ a

For the 1:1 – Architects Build Small Spaces exhibition in 2010 the Victoria & Albert Museum invited nineteen architects to submit proposals for structures that examine notions of refuge and retreat. From these nineteen, seven were selected for construction at full-scale and lucky for us one of them was The Ark Booktower by Rintala Eggertsson architects.

6,000 books fill the space and there is a reading space at the core of the 3-story tower. All the spines face in so one must enter to discover the treasures within. 

Introduction to the installation:  

As we are reaching the end of the first decade of the 21 century, we are witnessing the consequences of human domination on the globe. Global warming, food crisis and collapse of unhealthy economical structures are some examples. At the same time, estimated 500 species of living creatures vanish Slowly, people are waking up to the reality.


With this project we want to offer information of the biodiversity on this planet. If one looks at the nature from outside, one cannot see and understand its complex beauty and vital balance. We need to get back on the grass-root level of understanding the world. We need to get our hands dirty and our mind clean. To know it more is to love it more is to preserve it more, or at least destroy it less.

Rintala Eggertsson’s ‘Ark’

The details: 

A wooden free-standing tower structure is placed in the National Art Library staircase hall corner, lining with the existing pillars. The visitor is invited to choose an alternative, literature-filled promenade through the stairwell-space. One is able to choose an interesting book and withdraw to sit and read it in a peaceful one-person reading space in the core of the tower. Inside the reading space will be installed a reading light. This light will shine outwards through the structure, casting scattered light on the surrounding gallery walls, inviting readers like night lantern lures moths. 


The books are second-hand/ recycled/ would be otherwise destroyed, and have been collected from publishers, libraries and universities during 2009/2010. Outside, only white paper is shown of the books, creating a unified minimal wall surface. Interior is a contrasting collage of colors, titles and themes. To learn of the contents of the books, one has to enter the tower.

Rintala Eggertsson’s ‘Ark’ b

Rintala Eggertsson’s ‘Ark’ d

all photos by Pasi Aalto

Related:  Book Patrol’s Pinterest boards Books in Design  & Bookshelves, Book Ends and Gadgets

Isabel Barbuzza’s Bookworks

barbuzza color readingColor Reading

barbuzza color reading detailColor Reading detail

Isabel Barbuzza was born and raised in Argentina and is currently an associate professor at the School of Art and Art History in the University of Iowa.

Her interest lies “in the relationships between space, place, objects and materials in contemporary society and how through perception, thought and language we facilitate engaging with the physical world.”

Her work runs the gamut  from artists books to sculpture to installation. Enjoy! 

barbuzza disasters of warDisasters of War based on Goya’s “Disaster of War” – love poem blackened out with white numbers indicated disasters of war since Goya’s time. The binding is decorated with percussion caps

barbuzza beehiveBeehive. Waxed ans sliced Encyclopedia Britannica

barbuzza redesigning libraryRedesinging My Library

barbuzza reading titsreadingtits

barbuzza fantasy of possession detailFantasy of Posession, detail

barbuzza fusionsFusion

Isabel Barbuzza’s website

Folio Society focused on emerging from the darkness

folio society screenshot

They have been in business for 65 years and have almost 2,000 titles under their belt.

They produce some of the most beautiful and well-made books on the planet.

They work with the leading illustrators in the world.

Yet the Folio Society remains far from a household name.


Their business model stinks.

They operated exclusively as a membership book club and didn’t spend any energy actively promoting their titles until two years ago! 

Focusing on high-quality production values centered on packaging, typography, and illustration should not automatically negate attention to distribution, marketing and building brand awareness. It is the age old quandary faced by so many publishers of the well-made book.  

During my years at Wessel & Lieberman we tried numerous times to carry their books in our shop but to no avail. One of the illustrators we represented, Charles van Sandwyk, illustrated Andrew Lang’s Blue Fairy Book for them and we were eager to both carry it and promote it. No such luck, Mark Wessel ended up becoming a member so we could acquire copies to provide to our clients who collected van Sandwyk’s books. 

cvs blue fairy bookillustration by Charles van Sandwyk for the Blue Fairy Book

Hopefully this is about to change. Their website has finally opened its offerings to anyone, member or not and they have entered the world of social media. They have an advertising campaign underway in The New Yorker and are showing up at and sponsoring various book festivals. I am not sure they have included booksellers into their new mix yet but clearly they are making a concerted effort to emerge from the marketing darkness. 

Ironically, the PR push coincides with the release of their latest book, a new edition of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness beautifully illustrated by Sean McSorley.

folio society Heart of darkness

Folio Society Tries To Raise Its Profile | Publisher’s Weekly

Illustrating a Heart of Darkness | Creative Review