Copyright Bookshop II

Antwerp, Belgium

2000 — 2001

Copyright Bookshop moved from a small shop in a narrow alley to the new ModeNatie-building, where it is part of The Fashion Museum in Antwerp (MOMU). The art, fashion, and architecture bookshop was conceived as a reinterpretation of a traditional library in conformity with the neoclassical character of the building.

The space has been divided in a high central part, flanked on both sides by a balcony which is detached from the façade on the street side. At the rear of the store, two balconies end in two large walls behind which two identical stairs lead to the central space.

This spatial organization – in combination with the striking blank-finished central columns and beam structure – aims for a pronounced graphic composition of horizontal and vertical lines. Because of this the visitor experiences new views at random positions in the shop.

In strong contrast with this clarity, the spaces below and above the balconies were conceived as large-scaled niches. Both the partitions with book tablets and the ceilings have been carried out in darkly-stained wooden paneling, they look like boxes slid within the tight white structure. The wooden paneling evokes a warm traditional atmosphere while the simple and sober detailing of tablets, furniture, and lighting look for a strong contemporary treatment.

The same can be said concerning the floor in dramatically flamed dark-brown marble which consciously references the ‘classic’ modernistic architecture of Mies van der Rohe and Adolf Loos. The monumental marble console, the desk and low central marble steps ensure a harmonious balance between old and new.

Without using any ornament, the subtle balance of structures and furniture such as display cases, reading lamps gives Copyright the feel of a contemporary book shop and the air of a traditional library.


Kunsttijdschrift Vlaanderen, June 2012


Alberto Piovano