Deichman Tøyen Library

Vintage meets versatile

January 27, 2017

Deichmanske Library, the biggest and oldest library in Norway, has redesigned one of its 24 branches as an enticing living room. Gathering, gaming and meeting up are all made possible by cleverly reclaiming space. A warm atmosphere, coupled with rethinking how we store books, led to an inclusive, clean-cut library with a vintage touch.

By the public, for the public.

Aat Vos Aat Vos Creative Director at includi

We expanded the library basement and redesigned the library’s interior to make it inviting and exciting. We made space for visitors by being creative. By avoiding high shelving, we ensured that books were within physical reach. Bookshelves were made into part of the landscape, storing books but also functioning as seating areas. Areas for meeting, reading, and even gaming, were sculpted. The space reflected Deichman’s motto: Hold Deg Våken! Keep yourself awake. The library’s goal was to become a destination people wanted to visit. The library had to be able to keep up with the rapidly developing neighborhood and enrich people’s experience.

Shedding a new light on the interior

Firstly, we got rid of the boring fluorescent lighting (which, let’s be honest, doesn’t flatter anybody). The fluorescent light was replaced by warm and spotted light, accompanied by different textures in the form of curtains and carpets. Brown and grey tones created a homey atmosphere. We also used reclaimed materials to show that you don’t need to buy new to create new.Another way to allow people access was by increasing safety; video surveillance allowed patrons to be in the library even without staff present. This concept of accessibility and openness allowed us to craft a third place for all. A home away from home that entices people to stay just a little bit longer; giving them the opportunity to interact, enjoy small plays, music acts and performances. The Deichman Tøyen Library used to have opening hours from 9am to 5 or 7pm. It now opens at 7am and closes at 11pm.


Design: includi
Photography: Marco Heyda and Jan Willem van Bruggen