Bristol Central Library’s New BIPC Space features KI’s Grafton Seating

A section of the ground floor at Bristol Central Library has been refurbished to host a regional hub for the British Library’s Business and IP Centre (BIPC) network. This latest addition to the network is part of an initiative to support people who wish to start their own businesses, providing free, public, and accessible resources for all.

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This new space was developed by FG Library & Learning to be reminiscent of innovative and entrepreneurial environments, rather than a traditional library setting. The central, large bench accommodates dropdown working and features a cluster of PCs at one end. Shelves along one wall have been filled with books specifically curated for start-up businesses. Adjacent lounge seating and pods can be used to host meetings and bring together resources to help get their businesses going. These free-to-use facilities are essential for budding entrepreneurs who may not have appropriate space or conditions at home, or the budget to host meetings at cafes, hotels or co-working spaces.

FG Library suggested KI’s UK-made Grafton seating collection for its comfort, durability and cost-effectiveness. These chairs will also be used at the smaller satellite outposts to keep a consistent, distinct space so users can quickly identify the BIPC at multiple locations across the greater Bristol area. At the Bristol Central Library, stools, 4-leg chairs, and 4-leg chairs on castors maintain a consistent aesthetic across the space. The chairs on castors were specified with black frames, and the chairs without castors were specified with silver frames. This decision was made so that people would be more subliminally inclined to keep the black-framed chairs on castors together alongside the PCs, where they would be more suitable for use. 

Red vinyl upholstery was chosen as an easily cleanable solution in light of COVID-19 and heightened concerns around hygiene. The lounge seating also utilises the same colours and vinyl upholstery.

Josh Hughes, Commercial Manager at FG Library & Learning, commented, “We chose the Grafton range of chairs from KI because of the variety of chair styles available which complimented the various functions we wished to provide within the new space, from four leg study chairs to bar height stools. We also chose KI because of the extremely high-quality level and warranty available.”

The overall design of the space was a new concept for Bristol Libraries so there were no preconceived ideas or examples about how the project should look. However, working alongside Bristol Libraries, a vision was created that was in keeping with the correct brand colours and really made the space stand out from the main library.

Bristol Central Library was first founded back in 1613 but moved to premises on College Green next to Bristol Cathedral in 1906. The building has six floors, but only 2 are open to the public; the rest are offices or for book storage. Of the publicly accessible floors, the ground floor houses the Reference and Local Studies sections, while the first floor contains the Lending, Children’s, and Music libraries.

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About Phoebe Train

Phoebe is a Marketing and Events Executive, who joined the BCFA as an English graduate in 2021. Working closely with designers and BCFA members, Phoebe has published an array of content for Design Insider.
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