In North America, we tend to think of libraries in pretty low-key terms. They’re suburban community centers where you can check out books and movies, fill out tax returns, and register to vote. They can be pretty nondescript or shiny and ultra-modern, but in any case not much to get excited about, at least not from a purely visual perspective. In Europe, though, things are different. Some libraries there have been around for centuries, and they’re triumphs of architecture that take your breath away as soon as you walk through the door. It’s those kinds of libraries, specifically those in Paris and Rome, that are the subject of House of Books, a new series from photographer Franck Bohbot.
The photos of House of Books might seem impossible to those raised on suburban branch libraries – personally, I’m wondering how anyone can focus on what they’re reading with so much distracting architecture around. But they’re real, and definitely worth checking out.
For future installments of House of Books, Bohbot plans to feature libraries in other parts of the world, like the United States and Asia, and it will be interesting to compare and contrast those with the ones already released. You can see some of them below, and for more from the artist head over to Franck Bohbot’s official website right here.
Here’s the gallery: