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ONG&ONG wins SG Mark for Bedok Public Library's interiors

LEADING architectural firm ONG&ONG has won the SG Mark award for its interior design work for the National Library Board's Bedok Public Library at this year's SG Mark awards in the industry category.

Housed in Heartbeat@Bedok, the new integrated civic complex for the mature residential estate, the new Bedok Public Library is a test bed for ageing-in-place. Heartbeat@Bedok, the building itself, was also designed by ONG&ONG - the same architecture team that designed the library.

Says Robert Brodeth, associate director for architecture: "My team is delighted to have our design work recognised by the Design Business Chamber Singapore, especially since we went beyond expected architecture interiors, with purposeful bespoke furniture. We thank the National Library Board for giving us the chance to do this project - their attention and support really allowed us to push how we do third-spaces."

The integrated complex allows for more cross agency-organised community activities and collaborative programmes for the long-settled families' needs and the interest of young families moving into the town.

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Significantly, besides having elder-friendly design features, the new library also caters to the younger generation with wildlife-inspired child-height shelves and soft, non-slip carpets for the toddlers.

ONG&ONG says that elder-friendly design features were specifically installed in the new Bedok library to serve the needs of the aged, along with its relevant reading collections and activities. At the same time, the objective to invite new families for the town's regeneration gives equal priority to younger demographics, providing inviting concepts and inventive shelves.

The new library is situated immediately facing its former building. This familiarity allows the Bedok Public Library to conveniently continue its role for the community.

With a view to solving problems, improving lives and meeting the needs of the users, the library is equipped to aid the elderly, such as slanted bottom shelves to view book titles with ease, abundant assisted handrails, reading lamps and electronic magnifiers.

The award-winning firm says that "the design allows the library to be an interactive resource for learning with digital archives, handheld devices for pre-schoolers, digital literacy classes, volunteer-led sessions for seniors, digital magnifiers and language input for OPAC. User zones are defined by furniture configurations and movable partitions for multi-functionality".

The inspiration behind the design of the new Bedok library project was to galvanise and engage the society, community and environment. "As an integral destination for learning, its 'library in a park' theme had to be engaging by incorporating elements of the design; way-finding, furniture design, layout and lighting." The elder-friendly features, as well as those catering to the young then follow on from this "library in a park" theme.

The library's spatial abundance provides dedicated sections for digital learning, early literacy and exhibition display.

Minimisation of waste and environment footprint was also an important element in designing the new Bedok library. The entire Heartbeat@Bedok development underwent compliance to Singapore's green building rating, called Green Mark, to evaluate its environmental impact and performance. It achieved the highest rating of platinum.

At the Bedok library the surrounding window design provides extensive day lighting, lowering energy consumption and light colour walls brighten the interiors.

The fixtures and furniture of the library can be reshuffled to allow multiple configurations for varying user needs.