With his installation for UniFor, Ron Gilad disrupts the linear paths between the rows of books by creating zigzag walls. Subverting - as only he knows how to do - the conventions related to the organization of the spaces of a library

Books, bookstores and libraries are the common thread that unites Foster + Partners, Snøhetta and UniFor in the installation-labyrinth by Ron Gilad for UniFor on the occasion of Milan Design Week 2023.

In the UniFor showroom, inaugurated last November based on a design by Herzog & De Meuron, the installation by Ron Gilad is an interpretation of the architectural elements and interior spaces of the Feltrinelli Foundation.

“The positioning of the X bookcases designed by Foster + Partners, which rest on the same grid - explains Gilad - breaks the sequence of lines and creates a labyrinth (...) The installation traces a system of sub-spaces constantly evolving, made up of passages and rooms that contain islands of tables. The idea of wandering inside a labyrinth invites the viewer to an intimate stroll close to its borders.

In the installation, these borders are the bookcases which, even if 'naked', are nonetheless the protagonists of this walk.

In contrast to the idea of the labyrinth, an infinite Bokhus bookcase, designed by the Snøhetta studio, creates a continuous 15-metre line.

A horizontal totem made up of shelves in various sizes. This library, with its linear nature, breaks the grid of the labyrinth, but at the same time follows the linearity of the space and respects the essence of the library: a timeline of written history".

The book theme also recurs in the outdoor space, on Via Pasternak, where a large red metal structure that draws the inclined books creates a spatial dialogue with the bookcases.

An idea of interaction between books and shelf, "in an absurd moment, frozen in time".

“The Bokhus bookcase system – explain Snøhetta - is designed for libraries. All the design choices have been designed to welcome and celebrate books.

The project pushed beyond UniFor's engineering capabilities to achieve structural integrity through the minimum number of elements and connections needed to carry the heavy load of the books.

The connector is a key element of the bookcase system: it not only joins the horizontal shelf to the extruded vertical upright, but connects it continuously to the electrification system through a low conductivity.

The integrated light illuminates the spine of the book and adds atmosphere to the surrounding space… It was important for us to create a system that would not only act as a 'book carrier', but would add warmth and elegance to the library space, which in the future will become more and more a place for socializing”.

XYZ by Foster + Partners is a flexible system built for agile, personalized workplaces. “Backed by a human-centric approach to office design,” explains Mike Holland, senior partner and head of industrial design, Foster + Partners - it allows everyone to fine-tune their workspace to meet individual needs, which can have a profound effect on mood and overall well-being in the workplace.”