July 16, 2013
Cleveland’s Reading Nest
by Nick Davies
Yesterday, BookRiot‘s Jeff O’Neal posted a short piece about a huge reading nest outside the Cleveland Public Library, after having already written about a smaller, cozier, more metaphorical one back in March. The Read Nest he wrote about a few months ago is a portable hideaway designed by Danish architect Dorte Mandrup, only 32 square feet but with big windows so you can enjoy the scenery from an enclosed space. Cleveland’s Reading Nest is much bigger, and looks more like an actual nest for a giant bird, or a pterodactyl.
Artist Mark Reigelman designed the Reading Nest for the library’s garden. It’s built from more than 10,000 wood boards that were reclaimed from industrial sites. The nest measures thirteen feet tall and thirty-six feet in diameter; it really is very cool-looking, not to mention a positive statement on using materials that would have otherwise been discarded for art. The thing is (and I might be nit-picking here), couldn’t it be more…nest-y? Especially on the inside?
I hate to criticize a piece of art for what it isn’t, but O’Neal writes that the purpose of the Reading Nest is “to provide quiet, isolated space for reading, sitting, and contemplation.” And it’s hard to see somebody getting comfortable enough to get some reading done inside this thing. If you look at the above photo, the very spare seating just doesn’t look like it’s conducive to people actually settling in for a good read. The kid in the green t-shirt has the right idea, trying to make use of the space and actually sit on the nest part of it, which might be exactly what I would try to do.
Despite appearing to not be quite comfortable enough to be a real reading spot, the Reading Nest really is impressive as a work of art—as you can see from Reigelman’s website—and very much worth a visit if you happen to be in Cleveland. It will remain on display at the library through October 13.
Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.