In the Guardian, Lucy Mangan called it “the bookcase you’ll want to live in.” The Ark is a “free-standing, multi-storey wooden tower comprising a spiral staircase and walls composed of open shelves lined with 6,000 books. The brainchild of Scandinavian architects, Rintala Eggertsson, the Ark was conceived for the special 1:1 Architects Build Small Spaces exhibition, currently running at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
Working on the theme of refuge and retreat, the V&A Museum approached nineteen different architects inviting them to propose design solutions at various spots around the museum, all of which were selected for their obvious confinement. The space occupied by the Ark was a cramped stairwell that leads up to the V&A’s National Art Library.
All of the 6,000 books in the Ark have been purposely positioned so that their spines face inwards, revealing nothing to the viewer from the outside of the tower. It is only when one enters the tower and begins ascending the staircase that the nature of the books is revealed (the exhibition video offers a great first-person impression of what it’s like to ascend within the tower itself). If you’re lucky enough to be in or around the V & A Museum anytime in August, you can pop in to see the Ark for yourself, and ascend the stairway to bookish heaven. The exhibition is free and runs until August 30th.