What to do when you’re gifted 50,000 books? Give them away, of course. But how? This is the challenge organizers of the inaugural Bay Area Book Festival faced after the Internet Archive gave them 80 boxes full of 700 books each.
Rather than just distributing the books, organizers decided to go big. They hired the FLUX Foundation, an Oakland-based arts collective with experience creating large-scale installations for festivals such as Burning Man, to design a way to share the books.
What FLUX Foundation designers came up with is Lacuna, a fantastic temporary building made from books inspired by nomadic structures of Central Asia and formal civic buildings like Rome’s Pantheon. With 12 alcoves built from shelves of books, a thatch-style roof made from pages of books, and benches for reading and reflection, Lacuna is designed to be an “inviting and calming space, offering contrast to—and respite from—the busy energy of the festival.”
The goal for Lacuna is to rekindle a sense of wonder around books. Designers hope that people, especially children, will be “enthralled and captivated” by it.
To bring Lacuna to life, organizers launched a Kickstarter campaign to cover the cost of materials (wood, rebar, resin, wires, hardware), machinery (drill press, drill bits), and pay for logistical costs of setting up and running Lacuna (permits, security, moving trucks). With two days to go, the campaign just passed its $10,000 goal.
Simultaneously public art, public space, and a library, Lacuna is designed to bring festivalgoers together to peruse books and select one, take a break from the high energy of the festival, and engage with each other. As books are taken, the structure of the library changes, making participants contributors to the design, and the structure a reflection of the festival and festivalgoers.
“We want each person who steps inside Lacuna,” the Kickstarter page explains, “to build a lasting memory that connects them back to that moment where they find a book inside Lacuna, remove it from the wall, and see how their action made an impact on the work at large.”
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