Atlantic Citiies, John Metcalfe, May 30, 2013
The "Little Free Library" that recently appeared in Manhattan's Nolita neighborhood would seem to have a major design issue: Get more than one person inside, and turning a page suddenly becomes a violent ballet of jousting arms and elbow pokes.
But such is the cost of cuteness, which this teeniest of media centers has in spades. The adorable object, which sits outside St. Patrick's Old Cathedral School at 32 Prince Street, looks like a big doughnut on stilts or, if you imagine it with a few flourishes, a peevish robot.
The curious reading hovel is the work of Stereotank, a design collaboration between Venezuelan architects Marcelo Ertorteguy and Sara Valente, who were responsible for last summer's bicycle-powered musical whirligig on Astor Place. The couple built the library at the invitation of the Architectural League of New York and the organizers of the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature. It is one of 10 mini-libraries now scattered in the 'hoods below 8th Street, which will serve printed words to the public until they disappear in September. (See their locations on this map.)
So how wee are we talking? Well, if somebody tried to stock it with the complete Encyclopedia Britannica, it would likely pop at the seams. Avoid eating a garlicky gyro or lox-and-onion bagel before entering, because your face will be inches away from any other occupant as you leaf through the literature. Read more
Canopy Arts Desk
Tammy Hampel (Isaacson)
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