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Powell River Public Library selects vendors for furnishings

Committee finalizes designs for new building interior using eco-industrial theme
EXCITED VENDORS: Local designers Leo Zagwyn [left], Leah Rourke and Colin MacRae have been chosen to provide furnishings in the new Powell River Public Library, set to open at the end of summer. The three are working with library representatives to provide a circulation desk, computer stands and shelving/storage units and a children’s desk. Jason Schreurs photo

Selection of three local vendors to provide furnishing for the new location of Powell River Public Library is a first step in the new facility being a representation of the community, according to library staff.

Designers Leo Zagwyn, Leah Rourke and Colin MacRae were chosen to provide different elements of design for the new library, set to open between mid-August and early October at its new location in Crossroads Village on Alberni Street near Joyce Avenue.

“The library is representative of its community and we think bringing elements of that community forward is good,” said chief librarian Terry Noreault, “as well as returning value into the community in terms of spending Powell River’s dollars here when we can.”

Zagwyn will build the circulation desk, Rourke will provide computer stands and shelving/storage units and MacRae will construct a desk for the children’s area. All three designers said they are excited about the opportunity.

Using the library design committee’s chosen theme of eco-industrial, the three designers each put in a bid on the circulation desk, but the committee went with Zagwyn’s alder and copper proposal.

Zagwyn’s design incorporates a carving by first nation artist Ivan Rosypskye on its facade that honours local first nation tradition, with the approval of Tla’amin Nation.

“I’m very happy and excited to have the opportunity to do this,” said Zagwyn, whose wife and daughter both work at the library.

The circulation desk will be approximately 20 feet long with a centre console and two angled wings, according to Zagwyn. The rounded top will be made of solid hardwood.

Rourke, who owns local interior design company Relish Interiors, jumped at the chance to submit a bid to provide library furnishings. Her accepted proposal included computer work stations, storage units and display shelving.

“As soon as I heard it was going to happen, I knew I had to be involved,” said Rourke. “It’s something that’s fun to be part of, because it’s a community project that’s going to affect so many people.”

The final piece of the design puzzle will come from MacRae, whose initial proposal for a circulation desk turned into an opportunity for the library to incorporate MacRae’s vision into the children/youth area.

Working with design partner Ryan Thompson on the project, MacRae said the children’s desk will become a reflection of the local area, bringing nature indoors through a “whimsical” installation.

“My main drive in Powell River is getting engaged with community,” said MacRae, “and it’s inspiring to be able to help create installations that are going to make young people excited about being here.”

Noreault said the circulation desk, computer stations, display shelving and storage units will be complete upon the library’s opening, but the children’s area could take longer, due to the design being tweaked from MacRae’s original front-desk proposal.

The cost of the three proposals is estimated at $60,000 and approximately $20,000 per project, said Noreault.

In total, the library received five proposals, including the three for circulation desk. Staff ranked the proposals for selection by the library’s board of trustees. The board then made recommendations to fine-tune the accepted proposals with the three designers.

“I was amazed at the quality of the work that the people from Powell River proposed,” said Noreault. “The proposals were really high quality and it made it difficult because it was hard to choose a winner. All three proposals we had on the circulation desk were first rate.”

Noreault said the designers have been tasked to provide a West Coast flavour while incorporating natural materials and highlighting the new space’s industrial look, with exposed ceilings and solid fir posts throughout.

“It’s playing up the existing space,” said Rourke, “and the library really wants to focus on that and bring in the Powell River nature side.”

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