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Slovenian Book Center by SoNo Arhitekti

Žiga Lovšin

Slovenian studio SoNo Arhitekti has lined a book store with a continuos shelving system that references to the architectural aspects of its context in Trieste, Italy. The proximity of the Slovenian Book Center to the Oberdan Piazza and Fabiani’s National Hall has encouraged SoNo Arhitekti to look more closely to the symbolic ties that are important for the Slovene minority living in Trieste.

A hint that would only symbolically show itself derives from Fabiani facade’s decoration. Decorative geometric element has been broken down and transformed into a modern structure, which represents itself in the basic pattern of the bookshelves.


The historical building where the new center is located is a palace dating from the first half of the last century. The architectural concept of the interior upgrades the existing facility with a scenery composed out of bookshelves which give the space a modern look. Bookcases are the central element of the interior, announcing its function to the visitors and the city. Large glazed surfaces oriented towards the free-covered colonnade open the views into the interior of the book center, which results into becoming a lively part of the city. City space therefore becomes an arena for different events, workshops and conferences – Slovenian culture is open to the city and its habitants.


Interior is warm, inviting visitors to enter and visit it again and again. The book center is not only a bookshop, but a place for organizing social and cultural events for all type of visitors. For children, there is a reading corner that provides games, children publications and different workshops.

The visitor while entering is surrounded by books. The pattern of the bookshelves and its composition accompanied by interactive displays become the central point of the space. Material that dominates is wood, which exudes warmth especially in contrast with the bright smooth floor. This way the wood’s color and structure becomes even more pronounced.

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all images © Žiga Lovšin