Completed in 2004 the Seattle Central Library continues to garner attention for its unique design process. Designed by Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Remus from the Dutch firm Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) , the 11-story glass and steel building features an innovative use of materials and a progressive organization of space.
The interior design and use of color is a much less discussed aspect of the building. Connected by a continuously winding spiral ramp, the use of bright red, neon yellow and other colors are incorporated not only for its aesthetic qualities, but serves the crucial role of demarcating the different areas in this eleven-story building.
Above the main lobby area, visitors are engulfed by a surprising space where absolutely everything is red. Coated with a reflective plastic material, the ceilings, walls, floor, stairs create a surreal and unexpected experience.
In this area, the interior space of the bathrooms are bright green – the complementary colour of red. The use of bright colors goes on to the upper floors, where the neon yellow escalator occupies an unmissable location at the centre of the book spiral. Spiraling up onto four floors, this unique book shelf allows the display of the library’s nonfiction collection without breaking up the Dewey Decimal System classification onto different floors or sections.
It is only when you reach the uppermost floor that the colours become subdued again. The white faux leather ceiling draws major attention. More than the bold colors, its texture and details dominate the space.
Often times when we look at architectural landmarks, we think of a façade as the dominant aspect of a building. In this case, the use of colours and materials, highlight the interior space. The interior design reminds the visitors that the interior design can be as influential and intriguing as as the exterior.