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Numabookface

A fantastical mobile library with a conceptual twist

by Roman Espejo in Culture on 16 June 2011

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No offense to bookmobiles, but Numabookface—part installation, part bookstore—ups the ante on mobile libraries. A collaboration between design collective Nam and specialty publisher Numabooks, the whimsical pop-up shop launched earlier this year as part of Nam's "A Fantasy in Life" solo exhibition at Public/Image 3D in Toyko.

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Made of 3,500 used books that fall under the keyword "fantasy," the face-shaped bookshelf took one day to build. "We'd love to make this small, fantastic shop like a touring project, visiting various places and being observed as a graphic artwork as well as considered as a place to meet unexpected books," says Takayuki Nakazawa, co-founder of Nam. "This is a little presentation against the severe situation the publishing business is facing."

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The artfully-arranged stacks are not intended for browsing and page-flipping, but none of that's necessary. In a surprise for readers, Shintaro Uchinuma of Numabooks choses titles for each individual customer based on how he or she answers the question, "Please tell me about yourself." Available in sets of five for ¥1,800 ($22) or 50 for ¥9,800 ($122), purchases will be delivered after the installation's run. "I love this rather surrealistic method of selling, as this seems to provide the customer with a chance to meet with new books that they cannot imagine," says Nakazawa.

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Numabookface is open through 31 July 2011 at the Ikejiri Institute of Design in Toyko (closed on Mondays).

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