This collection of 250 unique, ceramic books is not a lending library, lest the façade’s structural integrity be compromised. De Batavier (De Boekenkast) was created by Sanja Medić in collaboration with ceramist Peter Kemink of the Rijksakademie and graphic designers Melle Hammer and Susanne Laws. It was commissioned by the housing organization De Alliantie and HVDN Architects for a new residential building in the Lootsstraat neighborhood in Amsterdam.
At first, CFile passed by this façade, thinking it was a bit obvious. But we’ve since learned that the streets in the Oud-West area of Amsterdam are named after 18th and 19th-century Dutch poets and writers, such as C. Loots, J.van Lennep, J.P. Heije, J. Kinker and A.C.W. The titles on the spines of the books are taken from the works of these same authors. What at first seemed like a merely decorative work, took on a charming neighborhood context and we’re impressed by the ambition required to make each book unique.
Sanja Medić lives and works in Amsterdam. Architecture factors into her work frequently, such as a mural she did for an abandoned shop window showing a mall overgrown by trees, or of a sculpture depicting the spiraling motion of an aircraft taking off from an old military base. She’s had numerous solo and group exhibitions appearing in the Netherlands, China, and the United States. Her work has won such awards as the 2007 Nieuwe Stad Prijs prize for “The Palace Room” at The Hague’s Hotel Transvaal, which was inspired by Louis XIV.
Above image: Sanja Medić’s facade of ceramic books adorns a building in the Lootsstraat neighborhood of Amsterdam. Done in collaboration with Peter Kemink, Melle Hammer, and Susanne Laws, the facade honors 18th and 19th-century Dutch poets and writers. Courtesy of the artist.