Books as building material

The change room at LYNNsteven Boutique in Gastown is made of books. Photos by Arnaldo Rodriguez.

The LYNNsteven Boutique in Gastown, which opened early this year, challenges the definition of a well-rounded book collection. Sure a fantastic library is the keystone of any respectable Dream Home, but I could be persuaded to have walls of pulp fiction if that's what the walls were actually made of.

From brunch at the Irish Heather recently, I saw into LYNNsteven's glass storefront across the street, and was puzzled by the giant tan cylinder in the middle of the loft space. On closer inspection, I found the cylinder is actually a change room and is made entirely of paperback books (plus reinforcements), stacked horizontally like bricks. Large light bulbs dangle at different lengths from the ceiling into the centre.

"A lot of people assume that it is made of wood until they get closer and see that it is actually made of over 6000 pocket books," LYNNsteven owner Nicole Dennis Durnin told me.

The book spines face inward, so the cylinder is lined with brightly coloured covers and names like Sidney Sheldon and Danielle Steel.

"We put a call out on Craigslist for the books and ended up getting them from a book re-seller. They were all in his basement!" said Nicole.

Despite its stark design, the change room complements the heritage building that houses it. Its bricked books even match the brick walls.

The firm McFarlane Green Biggar (MGB ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN) won Best In Competition at the IIDA Interior Design Competition Awards for the store's design in June of this year.

LYNNsteven and MGB have raised the bar for beautiful, creative, and environmentally sustainable shop design.

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