The new Rosengård Library in Malmö is a welcoming and safe meeting space for people of all ages. Kinnarps’ mission was to create a cohesive, inclusive and sustainable interior design solution with a broad appeal to younger and older people, families with young children and students.
Rosengård Library is located in a new three-storey building at the centre of the city district. It is accessible and welcoming to everyone, with an open ground floor that makes it easy to drop in for shorter or longer visits. When the proposal to build a new library was first tabled in the late 2010s, the old library – which occupied the same site as the new one – was worn out, overcrowded and poorly adapted to the way a modern library should function. “Rosengård was already Malmö’s most visited district library at the time, and we’d simply outgrown the old building, both in terms of space and functions for the citizens,” says Chief Librarian Maria Roijer.
The decision to build a new library is part of the work to renew the city district with a more small-scale and accessible architecture. “We have an important role in the local community. Now that we have much more space and are better adapted to modern requirements for a library, for example by offering digital information services and programme activities for children and adults, we also see that the building is being used by more people, by new groups and in new ways,” says Maria Roijer.
The floor space has doubled in size from the original 1,000 square metres. The interior design concept implemented by Kinnarps is partly based on efforts to create a cohesive look for all 14 libraries in the city of Malmö. “For the people of Malmö, our libraries are like extra living rooms, and we want everyone who visits one of our libraries to immediately feel at home,” says Maria Roijer.
The extensive project in Rosengård includes a wide range of interior design, from study and workstations to social spaces and furniture with a broad appeal to younger and older people.
“It’s been a long and arduous process to get all the functions exactly right. The interior design has to appeal to all citizens and take into account everything from aesthetic expression to durability requirements. We’ve had many meetings, workshops and discussions in which we have expressed our views, and Kinnarps’ experience and expertise of what will and won’t work in an operation like ours have been invaluable.”
The City of Malmö was very clear about its sustainability requirements and wanted to reuse as much of the existing interior design as possible. So an inventory was taken at the start of the project to give Kinnarps an idea of how many products could be used in the new library, which renovation needs existed and which new items of furniture were required in order to implement the interior design concept.
The requirement was for all old and new furniture to comply with the same high environmental criteria and carefully considered interior design concepts in order to last over time. Kinnarps helped collect, renovate, update and adapt existing products for the new building, including the Wilson bench, Trix sofa and Invito armchair.
The furniture was then driven back, protected by reusable blankets instead of single-use packaging, in Kinnarps’ own trucks that run on fossil-free fuel. “We’ve gone to great lengths to make new and existing furniture feel cohesive and adapted to the interior design concept, but the outcome is incredibly good. Many of our visitors actually believe that all the furniture is new and are surprised to hear how much has been reused,” says Maria Roijer.
Nevertheless, it’s important to point out that reused doesn’t automatically mean sustainable. First of all, Kinnarps must make a professional assessment in order to eliminate any furniture that’s unsuitable in terms of sustainability or content. Experience has shown that it’s possible to reuse more than many people think without compromising on function or appearance. The demand for these services is growing and Kinnarps has good systems for managing projects of all sizes.
Another important factor in a truly sustainable circular flow is that the furniture is made in a sustainable way from the outset, using environmentally friendly and high-quality materials. Maria Roijer explains that Kinnarps’ reputation in Sweden’s public sector for being good at sustainability made it the obvious choice. “It’s about everything from their production in Sweden and carefully planned deliveries to knowing that the products are durable and can also be renovated in the future to ensure long-term sustainability, from an economic perspective as well,” she says.
The three floors of the new library have different functions, and the interior design features wood, nature and muted colours, with themes such as sea, forest, fields, haze and twilight. The ground floor of the library includes the reception, adult department, drop-in areas, study spaces, a magazine corner and stage. The first floor is furnished for children and young people, with cosy reading spaces, story rooms and study spaces, a café, as well as staff rooms with workstations, meeting rooms and a pleasant lounge. And on the second floor, there are flexible rooms for co-working and association activities, as well as a spacious roof terrace.
“It’s not just visitors who love the new library. Staff well-being has also been enhanced, due in no small part to our new social spaces, which provide a natural meeting space. While all the public areas are popular, the armchairs next to the stairs up to the first floor seem to be an especially big hit – a quiet and secluded place with a nice view,” says Maria Roijer.
She also wants to remind people that reuse has contributed to the effective use of taxpayer money, which creates pride among staff and legitimacy for library operations among the citizens. “On the subject of sustainability, you could say that all our activities aim to contribute towards social sustainability, at the same time as we have to be environmentally and economically sustainable. Kinnarps has worked hard to convert what were quite general wishes and ideas into specific furniture that satisfies our requirements and our vision of being an inspiring, inclusive and safe everyday space.”