Francine Houben - The Library Whisperer - Marmoleum Stories

28.04.2021 - Publications

Francine Houben spoke to Forbo Flooring Systems about the use of Marmoleum on the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. After a three-year transformation by Mecanoo, working in close collaboration with OTJ Architects, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library (MLKL) was re-opened in 2020, reborn as a contemporary lifelong-learning hub which reaches out to all communities.

A central objective of the new design, as Houben explains, is “to highlight the library’s social gathering purpose and its strong presence as a social landmark in the city.” The design approach balances the very different legacies of Mies van der Rohe and Dr King.

With its ‘modern timeless values’ Marmoleum connects in a natural way with the building and its classic timeless furniture designed by Eames and Mies van der Rohe. Besides for its material expression and color identity other aspects of Marmoleum are explored by Francine. In one specific area of the MLKL, Marmoleum is used to tell a story. To admit more light in the space some of the original walls were removed and with the addition of a minimalistic and simple Marmoleum floor design, a subtle reference is made to ‘what was once there’, communicating history in an elegant way.

In the interview we hear Francine explaining about how the library comes to live in the evening hours, how the reflection of the warm Marmoleum tones illuminates the space with a soft colored glow, making the building even more inviting and stand out in an urban context as a radiating modernized icon.

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