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Mexico City library casts its books in a new light


July 17, 2012

In the evening shots, the LEDs come into their own

In the evening shots, the LEDs come into their own

Image Gallery (22 images)

Designed to house the personal library of Mexican diplomat Antonion Castro Leal, the Castro Leal Library in Mexico City won first prize in the institutional category in the 2012 Mexican Association of Interior Designers' AMDI Awards. And looking at the interior shots, it's not hard to see why.

Linear strips of LED lights are mounted in each bookshelf, which obviously makes the job of finding books somewhat easier. In the evening shots, the LEDs come into their own: the books seem to positively glow - an effect only emphasized by the choice of dark wood (hopefully sustainably sourced) for the shelves.

Visually at least, the choice of materials is striking: pale floors and furniture contrast with the shelves, and opaque glass walkways put the upper-most shelves within reach.

A series of tightly-packed skylights ensure that, during the hours of daylight, the library is positively bathed in natural illumination, and other than the bookshelf LEDs, artificial lighting appears to have been kept to an absolute minimum.

Buildings with highly-specialized uses lend themselves to highly-specialized and bold designs. Commendably, the architects at BGP Arquitectura have made the Castro Leal Library all about the books.

Source: BGP Arquitectura, via Arch Daily

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life. All articles by James Holloway

The first feature of a good library is that it protects the books from the elements; skylights are notorious for leaking.


A good library should also protect the contents from light.


It's not the visible spectrum of light (from the leds) that damages the books, its the UV rays from natural sunlight.

Benjamin Zeng

Too much natural light will destroy the books, causing binding to crack and split, pages will deteriorate, inks fade.

A major storm and a broken skylight, and your library is gone.

Another issue is fire. skylights breach very quickly during a fire, turning your books to ash in the shortest possible time.

Library LOOKS well thought out, but was not.


Does anyone know the brand of led light strips used?


eskenig, lumiabulbs.com my house is 100% LED right down to the under cabinets lights in the kitchen, very bitchin' yes even my outside flood lights

Bill Bennett
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