Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Nostalgia for Books as Artifacts

Many people make New Year's resolutions to read more during the new year. This would be good because the average number of books read by people in a year is "One". My problem is the opposite. I've been advised to make a resolution to spend less on books this year.

I'm not nostalgic about the printed word. I think an e-reader makes more sense, is easier to carry, saves money, and is more environmentally sustainable. If you read about a book a week it soon becomes difficult to find a place to store them.

That's why a new hotel in Berlin caught my eye. Tom Michelberger’s new hotel is based on his declaration that “perfection does not create memories, because memories only result from movement, from a lively experience of interaction – with people, the surroundings and the atmosphere.”

Michelberger's Berlin hotel is a unique space that reflects the creativity of the city, and is infused with a rough artistic spirit rarely seen in lodging design. Tons of vintage books are used as wallpaper, decoration and lamps, and a raw but welcoming feel pervades the guest rooms and common areas. For many, the massive display of books will seem disorderly and chaotic.

It reminds me of a recent visit to an equally satisfying environment, Thomas Edison's library with three stories of books wall to wall and floor to ceiling with a small bed to take a nap between readings. My idea of heavan.

Click on the photos to see larger versions. Click on the heading above to see The Michelberger Hotel's equally funky website.

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