“In such a diverse community, it’s about helping children forge a life-long love of reading. The children’s library needs to be a warm and welcoming environment for all.”
Boasting a creative and cozy kids section, the Fountaindale Public Library in Bolingbrook, Illinois strives and succeeds at being a hub for limitless learning, joyful interaction and cultural celebration. No stranger to design accolades, the community-centric library received a “Design Excellence” award from the American Society of Interior Designers.
Given the library’s significance within the community, Sharon Exley, with Architecture is Fun, Inc. was thrilled to design the children’s area. A loyal Wilsonart customer specializing in educative design™, Architecture is Fun, Inc. partners with many establishments to create dynamic learning environments through strategic, thoughtful design.
For this particular project, Architecture is Fun collaborated with the library’s architect of record, Nagle Hartray, to create a truly welcoming environment. “The library needs to be a place that is welcoming and warm...approachable and accessible to the community,” said Exley. “Does it feel right for a family? Does it feel a little bit like home, but is it still durable enough to withstand the tough love of children?”
Exley places strong emphasis on including those impacted by her projects in the design process. “It’s very important to involve the community, the librarians, the staff and the director. Get everyone invested and create a story together,” expressed Exley. Communal brainstorming through envisioning sessions with the Fountaindale staff led to the inspiration for the overall parks within a park theme, with trees that signify play and learning.
One subsection of the children’s area, called the “World Park”, features an extra-long laminate tabletop showcasing a custom checkerboard design, as checkers is a universally-understood game. Surrounding the table are Architecture Is Fun designed stools, depicting tonal black and white images of children from across the globe. Sharon believes curating these elements and putting them into context for young visitors demonstrates the library’s appreciation for their community’s diversity. The World Park is an age-appropriate place that invites young library-goers to sit at the table and play together.
Having designed many laminate patterns, Architecture is Fun, Inc. is a long-standing fan of WilsonartXYou. “Wilsonart is our ‘go-to’. Architecture Is Fun has great success using Wilsonart® Laminate. It’s a durable product that we respect,” shares Exley. “We admire the fact that we can make it a canvas and use it in the way that we want to help us tell stories.” When asked if she plans on using Wilsonart x You in the future, Exley replied, “I wouldn’t stop using WilsonartXMe because it is a canvas that we can design with. It’s a great tool for us.”
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