The Global Village

The Urban Cabin in London.

HONORING PUBLIC LIBRARIES: THE 1st MINI LIVING URBAN CABIN.

MORE THAN JUST A PIECE OF ARCHITECTURE: REVIVING A BRITISH INSTITUTION.

The MINI LIVING's first ever Urban Cabin made its debut at this year's London Design Festival. The Urban Cabin project fuses clever use of space with insights from local architects to create an area and structure suited for their city. British architect Sam Jacob was asked to use his hometown of London as inspiration for the local Urban Cabin adaption; Jacob responded with by using Britain’s declining libraries as his inspiration, an institution once the envy of the world.
MINI LIVING’s clever use of space with insights from local architect Sam Jacob.
“London is a city of books before it is a city of architecture”, says Sam Jacob. Whilst the architect sees evidence of traditional architecture across the city’s landscape, for him it is cultural expression that has built the city. In particular Jacob felt that writing, books and libraries help people able to explore, create and push forward. And this is what has shaped London’s skyline.
London's libraries host a wealth of history.
London's libraries host a wealth of history.
Libraries are rooted in community, education and escapism. They host a wealth of history and provide a quiet place for its city’s inhabitants to read, reflect and relax. However this institution is sadly under threat. The UK’s library budgets have fallen by £25m in 2016 and a further 340 public libraries are under threat of closure in the next five years. This issue was Sam Jacob’s inspiration for the micro-library within the Urban Cabin.
Libraries are rooted in community, education and escapism.
Visitors explore the cabin's micro-library.
Jacob wanted to draw attention to disappearing libraries and what they stand for. They are more than rooms with various books, they are a part of a city’s spirit and cultural memory. A place where people come together, where the rich history and various fictional depictions of London are represented from different angles and different times, inspiring discussions about today’s hopes and visions for the city.
”Libraries record and speculate on ways we might live. Within them we can read our way through different visions of London.” As a safe haven from our hectic world, a library is a place where knowledge is shared, ideas and experiences are lent, borrowed and exchanged. To bring this gift back to London′s inhabitants – not only in the form of impressive monuments, but also into their everyday lives – Jacob incorporated the micro-library as his personal addition into the MINI LIVING Urban Cabin, framing London′s rich history and facets from the post-revolutionary fiction of William Morris’ ‘News From Nowhere’, the forensic detection of ‘Sherlock Holmes’ through the oppressive gloom of Hangover Square, the angular modernity of JG Ballard.
Libraries record and speculate on ways we might live.
The library is Sam Jacob's personal addition to the MINI LIVING Urban Cabin.
Sam Jacob leafing through a book in the MINI LIVING Urban Cabin micro-library.
Jacob combined his idea of a library with his perception of today’s British homes and the way people live: “…the kinds of strange, personal interior worlds that people create behind what is often a very conventional facade. These ideas evolved to form the library as a place of imagination within the home - an interior space that contains many possible worlds."
The MINI LIVING design team and Sam Jacobs have created a piece of architecture that has meaning and creativity; a setting that will attract people not only for its aesthetics but also its intention to celebrate a rich part of London’s culture.
The MINI LIVING Urban Cabin at the London Design Festival 2017 from the inside.
Byline: Text by Ian Lowey, design journalist and editorial designer based in Manchester, England.