The Library

The modernist architecture of the building and the rich history of the location inspired the designers to preserve the Soviet heritage. They focused on carefully restoring the original architectural features and materials — sandstone, marble, parquet and a " soaring " staircase.

When creating the visual concept of the project, the Tochka design studio team was inspired by the aesthetics of the Soviet era. For example, unusual facades: because of the purpose of the building, people began to recognize the pages of an open book in the bends made in the shape of flagpoles. The architects complemented them with contour lighting, thanks to which the soft lines look especially interesting during the polar night. Work on the interior began with the update of engineering communications and ventilation. The initial layout of the facility was successful, so the main functional blocks remained in their original places. The changes affected only the utility rooms that were adjacent to the elevator area: they had to be reduced to make the space more inclusive. Tall windows filled the halls with natural light, and recreated historical glazing gave a complex game of highlights and reflections on the floor and walls.

Zoning and planning solutions

On the ground floor, dedicated to the library, there is an entrance area with a hall and a dressing room, a large reading area, a hall of industry literature and an art living room suitable for master classes and chamber meetings. Anastasia Yukhnevich tried to adapt each room to the interests of people of different ages who will come here in the future. The main point of attraction for visitors was the zone of adult and children’s season tickets. Its thoughtful filling ensured the versatility of the space: participants of the book club can gather on semicircular sofas, and children can play in the part of the hall separated by curtains with a gradient. A separate section of children’s books has been installed for them, bizibords, soft poufs and drawing tables have been purchased. The cheerful mood here is set by round carpets, soft textures and colored pillows on low window sills for reading. In the room opposite, on the contrary, there is a peaceful atmosphere: movement scenarios are built around a long table for fourteen people. Individual workplaces with access to an Internet library are located near the windows, and in the depths of the space there is a “tribune” for recreation and lectures. The small hall, designed in the spirit of an art gallery, is suitable for narrowly focused master classes, which will be held regularly on schedule. The accent detail of the interior was a staircase made of white marble leading to the second level. It hides a coffee point with bright orange tables and armchairs. The panoramic glazing of this area opens up a picturesque view of the birch grove, and flowerbeds decorated with light stone with live plants provide its visual connection with the exterior and “let” nature into the hall.

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The area of the upper floor was divided between the Museum of Local lore, a modern exhibition space and a concert hall with a grand piano. Three years ago, an exhibition of works from the collection of Andrey Malakhov “In a cold climate, with Love” was held in this very place, immediately after which the library was closed for reconstruction. That is, even before the transformation of the building, it had already begun to work in a new way: events became more ambitious, residents’ interest in the library increased. Moreover, it was the exhibition organized by Moscow designers and curator Kristina Dryagina that helped draw public attention to the reconstruction of the building and achieve an increase in the budget. In just a few weeks, the Tochka Design studio team prepared a strong design project that was many times superior to the previous renovation plan and was quickly agreed upon – so work on the project began. Before the long-awaited opening, permanent and temporary exhibitions appeared here, marking the beginning of a rich cultural program. Her art council also developed together with Andrey Malakhov, who is actively involved in the development of his hometown. Paintings by Andy Warhol and Japanese artist Takashi Murakami have already been exhibited in the space. The renovated center will continue to involve the residents of Apatity in cultural processes and introduce them more closely to contemporary art. Special attention in the project is paid to a small room, which was originally decorated with dermantine panels. During the exhibition “In a cold climate, with love”, an installation was made there: fresh flowers were placed and UV lamps were built in, reminiscent of the local tradition of using artificial lighting for domestic plants. Then this space became the hallmark of the library, and the neon inscription with the name of the exhibition prompted the founder of the studio “Tochka design” Stepan Bugaev to the idea of combining an accent pink color with brown wall decoration. As a result, the dermantine was replaced by gypsum panels due to fire safety requirements, but the relaxed atmosphere and tactile materials were preserved. Upholstered sofas with pastel pink upholstery are adjacent to a large table and armchairs in the same shade: the design looks so informal and stylish that even the head of the city administration holds meetings and online meetings there.

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Palette and context

The cold palette of colors used on the facades formed the basis of interior solutions. The Murmansk region, which includes Apatites, is located in the northern region and is adjacent to the Scandinavian countries. The active cultural exchange with Denmark, Finland and Sweden influenced the visual preferences of the townspeople. The usual combinations of gray, white and red are intuitively understandable to local residents, so was decided to preserve and complement them with textured details. The furniture in the project is quite neutral: chairs made of light wood, restored armchairs and stretched sofas do not change the previous mood of the interior, but simply make it more modern. The velvety fabrics of the upholstery balanced the strict finishing materials — natural marble, shell rock typical of Soviet institutions and decorative plaster for concrete on the walls of one of the halls. Anastasia Yukhnevich and other designers tried to preserve and reliably repeat the original finish in everything: even a piece of marble damaged by time was carefully replaced with a suitable tone material. Bright accents filled the interior with a feeling of comfort and warmth, including orange lamps referring to the image of the sun. His silhouette is often duplicated in round carpets, and the shade is in textiles and decor. Mirrored ceilings and plaster moldings have brought symmetry and additional volume to the room. A special lighting system with different scenarios was developed by the studio team together with St. Petersburg LED designers MDM Light. Laconic lamps and lampshades were integrated into the design project, which reduced the solemnity of the crystal-style chandeliers found on Avito. Thus, an ordinary city library in Apatity turned into a cultural center, whose mission is to make literature and art more accessible to residents of the city. Thanks to the renovation of the space, they are more involved in the modern context and find a place for communication and leisure. Clubs, concerts, interest meetings and children’s educational events are held here. Dozens of caring people participated in the work on the project — designers and architects, representatives of the administration, the governor of the region and TV presenter Andrey Malakhov. At the initiative of the latter, the artist Valery Chtak joined the design of the space: neat painting on the walls of the gallery came out from under his hand. The frescoes, damaged due to the flood during the repair work, were restored with the help of graduates of the Surikov School. They managed to convey the author’s style of images and the spirit of different time periods, from the images of Cyril and Methodius to Vladimir Mayakovsky.

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