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The Art Library at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Gwacheon Reopens

etc. Han Garam Apr 24, 2023

SPACE April 2023 (No. 665)​





View of the MMCA Art Library / Image courtesy of MMCA


On Feb. 13, the Art Library at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) Gwacheon reopened with its new bright and cheerful look. The space that was previously filled with bookshelves, opaque self-adhesive films covering the windows, and walls added as needed has been radically transformed by the touch of FHHH FRIENDS (co-principals, Han Seungjae, Han Yangkyu, Yoon Hanjin). To begin, the walls that had divided the already-compact space into tight sections have been dismantled to return it to a single library space. The interior space has been flooded with natural light, simply by removing the self-adhesive films attached to the windows, and bookshelves have been laid out diagonally to direct even more light across the space. Thanks to the bookshelf arrangement, the L-shaped Art Library offers an unobstructed sightline from the entrance to the interior, so it appears longer and broader than it actually is. Furniture brand rareraw and graphic designer O Hezin made significant contributions by adjusting the library experience by increments. Rather than bringing in well-designed furniture and lighting fixtures, they chose to make their own well-designed furniture and lighting fixtures. The desks, which are located near the windows, are spacious enough to open large publications such as an exhibition catalogue or a photography book. The lamp atop the desk had linear lighting with an acrylic panel installed, and it blocks the intense morning sunlight coming from the southeast while also limiting the view from outside. The bookshelf for periodical publications is designed in such a way that it must be pushed to the side to access the publications, eliminating the need to lift the display shelf. Apart from that, a return shelf that makes use of leftover space, as well as a book cart that can move in and out of a narrow space, have also been specially designed based on this guiding principle of maximising the use of space. 
The MMCA Art Library was founded in the Deoksugung Palace in 1981, and it was relocated to itscurrent site in 1886 when MMCA Gwacheon opened. Before the relocation, the collection was estimated to contain around 6,000 publications, but after 37 years, it has grown to around 52,800 publications. Presently, around 25,000 publications are available for open browsing, while the remaining copies must be requested in advance for browsing. A visit is possible during the weekdays but not on holidays.
by Han Garam