The LocHal project occupies an old locomotive depot not far from Tilburg train station. The industrial interior of the early 1930s was transformed by the Dutch bureau Mecanoo into an urban living room, in which absolutely everyone is comfortable and interesting.
The Bibliotheek Midden-Brabant Public Library, the Kunstloc Brabant Regional Center for Arts and Culture, the Brabant C Investment Fund working in the creative industry, and the Seats2meet coworking space are housed under one roof. While retaining the remaining steel structures, the architects added warm oak and vibrant colors to all areas, and also used fabrics as a zoning tool. The latter decision also refers to the history of Tilburg, the famous center of the textile industry.
The core of the whole interior is the square bar, which is decorated with tiles in warm red-brown tones. Its neon sign is visible even from the windows of passing trains. Adjacent to this main meeting and communication site are three gigantic locomotive tables on the remaining tracks. They can be moved close to the bar, or they can be rolled out onto the street, organized as a podium or stage. Also nearby are a magazine room, an exhibition space and a “street of books” that crosses the entire building with historical pillars turned into tables.
A giant staircase, equipped with mobile seats, not only leads to the upper tiers, but is itself an important place for reading and communication. The rest of the space is occupied by a variety of public areas and thematic “laboratories”: GameLab, DigiLab, FutureLab, FoodLab, LearningLab, TimeLab, DialogueLab and WordLab.
Well, in the design of the children's hall of the library, the architects used the motives of the Efteling adventure park, located just 12 km from Tilburg. Low shelves in the form of pencils and rulers, tables resembling a mobile phone, poufs with letters stylized as fairy-tale characters, shelves designed as giant books – children should feel free and as comfortable as possible here.
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