The epicyclic carpet at S. Walter Stewart Library

Various TPL nabobs kept telling me if I like Beaches so much, why don’tcha visit S. Walter Stewart (SWS) up in East York? Huh? Why don’tcha? Because they both used the same interior designer (Phil Carter).

So I did. (Pictures.) I’m pretty sure two librarians were looking at me strangely from time to time, incidentally.

  • Shelves sit below wraparound blue wall and glass cupola

    Without much better equipment, not to mention skills and a tripod and and all sorts of unnecessary approvals and appointments, I cannot do justice to the massive blast of sky blue you experience upon walking into the branch. (After you find the entrance. And after you find the library. It’s located north of East York Civic Centre, and I circumnavigated the building before I found the entry door off to the side.)

    The detailing here is beautifully proportioned to wallop you with bright sky blue, as if suddenly being in an air-conditioned version of the outdoors.

    Take a few steps more and this wraparound atrium is revealed to have markings like a compass – in seriously shitty Times Bold type, but then again, compasses generally have shitty type, so at least we’re consistent. Sunshine blazes through the sides of the cupola at this famously spaceship-shaped library branch. (A corny old newspaper clipping posted on a plaque explains, in effect, that aliens have landed in East York.)

  • And indeed here is the flagrantly decorative carpeting, with scratchy circles within circles. (“The things I can do with my Spirograph”?)

I like a civic building that isn’t afraid of unnecessary prettiness. Because attractive things work better.

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