Cool Bookish Places: Conarte Children’s Library

Kids these days, you guys. They have all the cool things. Like when I was a young ‘un and wanted to sneak-read a book after my bedtime, I had to grab a flashlight without my parents noticing. Nowadays, you can just duck under the covers with an eReader or tablet. And, when I went to the library, I had to sit at tables in hard plastic chairs.

conart children's library entrance

Photograph by Caroga Photographer. Design by Anagrama.

Can you imagine something sooooo twentieth century? The kids in Monterrey, Mexico, can’t, now that they have this super-cool library (frontrunner for most awesomesauce children’s library, ever) to read and play in. Just look at the entrance—it’s like something out of a Guillermo del Toro movie. Pretty soon Ofelia from Pan’s Labyrinth is going to come skipping out of there.

interior conarte children's library

Photograph by Caroga Photographer. Design by Anagrama.

interior conarte children's library

Photograph by Caroga Photographer. Design by Anagrama.

The library is actually part of a cultural complex near the heart of Monterrey called Fundidora Park, a former steelworks and foundry that now houses gardens, bike paths, an artificial lake, museums, convention centers, an ice rink, hotel, auditoriums, and theme parks. With all these attractions, the park is considered one of most famous examples of urban archaeology in Mexico. As part of the continuous efforts to turn Fundidora Park into a cultural center, the design firm Anagrama was hired by Conarte (Council for the Culture and Arts of Nuevo León) to convert an old warehouse into a children’s library while maintaining the historic (c. 1900) nature of the building.

conarte children's library interior

Photograph by Caroga Photographer. Design by Anagrama.

conarte children's library

Photograph by Caroga Photographer. Design by Anagrama.

conarte childrens library

Photograph by Caroga Photographer. Design by Anagrama.

The result is an asymmetric platform in the center of the warehouse with climbable shelves that are meant to imitate the famous mountains surrounding Monterrey. Bright, colorful shelving along the walls and neon-pink roof beams preserve the industrial nature of the building while helping to make the space fun and friendly.

conarte children's library

Photograph by Caroga Photographer. Design by Anagrama.

conart children's library

Photograph by Caroga Photographer. Design by Anagrama.

conarte convention center

Photograph by Caroga Photographer. Design by Anagrama.

There’s also a theater in another portion of the building, which looks a little like the theater from the Nineteen Eighty-Four Apple commercial. Fluorescent light bars are hung vertically instead of horizontally so as not to visually obscure the high ceilings and painted roof beams.

conarte children's library

Photograph by Caroga Photographer. Design by Anagrama.

Definitely a one-of-a-kind library I’d love to explore, kid or no.

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