Literature meets design

Coffee bar, meeting place, and bookshop all in one is what would best describe Librairie ICI Paris.

Notes/Spring 2019/Literature meets design

This case study was published in Notes / Spring 2019.

ICI
Studio Briand & Berthereau

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Librairie ICI Paris

Nestled in the second arrondissement of the French capital, this non-conformist space is home to 40,000 books and provides an oasis of peace. Architect Arnaud Berthereau from Studio Briand & Berthereau tells us how he managed to turn this project into reality.

The interior is an ensemble of raw materials. The eye is immediately drawn to the ceramic tiles in neutral and contrasting colours, which harmoniously combine furniture in light wood and pastel shades and are accentuated by the white walls.

A non-conformist concept

ICI's founders called on the architectural firm Studio Briand & Berthereau to design the independent bookshop. The Studio had previously worked successfully with Mosa and asked the Dutch company again for help with this large project, which had a large floor area of 500 square metres. Together, they created an inviting, accessible meeting place with sleek and understated materials.

 





"Maintaining the bookshop's original look is a huge asset for this space, which has been designed as a place to meet and relax."

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A place for meeting and relaxing

Given that the bookshop's primary aim is to sell its wares, every part of the space is dedicated to books. They stand back to back in bookcases that give a wooden embrace to the informal yet perfectly arranged space. The interior is functional, featuring easily moveable and changeable furniture on wheels as well as a very practical floor. ‘The importance of strength and durability led us to choose Mosa tiles. The tiles are perfectly suited to high-traffic areas and are completely resistant to damage from wheeled bookcases being moved around. Maintaining the bookshop's original look is a huge asset for this space, which has been designed as a place to meet and relax,’ says Arnaud Berthereau, the architect. As the floor will be used a lot every day, the tiles must be very durable.

The 10 x 60 centimetres terracotta brown tile is unique for this project.

 

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"The combination of colours and the use of a herringbone pattern on a floor of this size are not common design choices."

 

Herringbone pattern

‘We chose Mosa tile strips because they combine durability and high quality with an aesthetic character. We thought it was the best choice if we wanted to create a welcoming space where many people will meet. Thanks to their unique size, we didn't have to think twice about selecting these tile strips because they enabled us to play around with colour combinations. We wanted to do something out of the ordinary for this project , and these tile strips provided the scope for this. To liven up the floor, the strips are placed in a herringbone pattern. The tile pattern is reminiscent of a parquet floor, but we've also harnessed the rough character of the material to give the illusion of an irregular pattern and add depth to the space,’ explains Arnaud Berthereau.

Playing around with contrasts

The combination of colours and the use of a herringbone pattern on a floor of this size are not common design choices. The designers worked with three colours – concrete grey, terracotta brown, and white – to play around with contrasts. This colourful composition creates an intriguing graphic effect on the floor. The different spaces within the bookshop are marked by three different colours. These colours come together at the meeting points and quieter places, while the floors along the bookcases are contrastively laid in a solid colour, concrete grey.

 

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"As the floor will be used a lot every day, the tiles must be very durable."

 

Eye-catching Terracotta colour

‘Terracotta is the dominant colour on the floor. This choice of colour is no coincidence: it refers to the very recognizable covers of the books in the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade collection,’ says the architect. This colour in the strip size of 10 x 60 centimetres is a unique product for this project (the tile is usually used in the size of 60 x 60 centimetres) so it was a great opportunity for the Studio to use the tiles in this size.

Arnaud Berthereau says there's no doubt he would work with Mosa again: ‘We worked on this project for four months. The tile manufacturer was able to deliver within this short period of time and meet our expectations by ensuring quick response times and taking into account our urgent requirements, the specific tile size, and the enormous size of the order.’

 

To liven up the floor, the planks are placed in a herringbone pattern.
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Arnaud Berthereau and Joran Briand Associate directors Studio Briand & Berthereau.
The floors along the bookcases are contrastively laid in a solid colour, concrete grey.
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Project details
Project: ICI
Architect: Studio Briand & Berthereau
Location: Paris (France)
Completion: 2018
Mosa series: Terra Maestricht

Imagery © Studio Briand & Berthereau
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