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ACTIU Berbegal y Formas, S.A.
Library Addis Abeba
March 2022 | 3 minutes

Abrehot (meaning "lighting" in Ethiopian) is the name of the new library created to "light up" and provide access to knowledge in Addis Ababa. Located next to the Arat Kilo monument and the Parliament, this monumental building (designed by ZIAS Design International PLC, with Geometra Luigi Varnero Impresa Costruzioni PLC  as General Contractor, and Coord Consulting as the project manager) brings together an extremely modern contemporary design with heightened sensitivity and respect towards the African country's architectural tradition.

Furnished and designed from a sustainable and environmental approach, the new library is set around a large atrium overlooked by a central green space covered by a large skylight. With a lower ground floor and four floors above ground that can hold 1.4 million books, plus more than 240,000 electronic books, including 300,000 research articles and a collection of books in Braille, it has consultation and reading areas, meeting rooms, an amphitheatre, a restaurant-cafeteria, several shops, reading and children's play areas and a car park for 115 vehicles. 

Actiu has participated in the project by furnishing many of its spaces with furniture that, like the Class-20 shelving, helps to improve the user experience. Perfect for this type of use, these double-sided shelves are dual purpose, acting as a space for storing books and magazines, and as a room divider in open-plan rooms. Their great versatility, customisation options and progressive growth allows them to adapt to future changes, new uses and programmes.

In the form of a public square used for get-togethers and knowledge exchange, the large open-plan space on the ground floor offers reading and quick consultation areas designed around the central landscaped area, next to the shelves. Here, the organic and dynamic Bend modules, with their poufs and side tables, are combined with Longo Nómada sofas and coffee tables from the same range, creating a relaxed and dynamic environment whose strong use of colour and compositional freedom turn reading into a playful and celebratory act.

Visitors can also sit on the Viva monoblock chairs, which accompany a large communal table. Their characteristic geometry and pistachio green colour add a casual and trendy touch, and the ability to stack up to 5 chairs makes them easy to store when not in use.

The large Informa reception desk enhances the great versatility and visual and spatial fluidity of the entire project. Comprised of several modules that can be fully customised, its burgundy front adds a touch of elegance, in line with the chromatic range that fills the entire library with colour.

The reading areas on the upper floors combine large shared reading and working areas, furnished with long Vital Pro tables and Urban Block chairs, with tucked-away corners overlooking the central atrium. In the latter, and to differentiate and enhance their more relaxed and intimate character, the small Bend side tables are combined with stackable Whass chairs, with wooden legs and an upholstered seat that add well-being and warmth.

In the restaurant and security areas, the versatile and functional Wing chairs have been chosen, whose ability to be stacked makes them easier to clean and allows for a quick change of layout when required. In the cafeteria and informal meeting areas, Tabula tables are available in different versions that can be easily adapted to different styles.

Designed to reflect the character of a country which is extremely rich in culture and history, and with an ancient literary tradition, Abrehot comes to life with the aim of elevating books to a new dimension, in a country that wants to open the doors to its population for reading, enjoyment and knowledge.

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