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Claire Leggett_Birmingham Library garden corner

Issue 6 of Moyo is just out – back in September our new library building opened in Birmingham (I wrote about the building here)) and like many others I was impressed with it and reinvigorated with pride for my (adopted) home-town –  so much so that I offered to do a ‘Postcard From…’ for this issue of Moyo on pages 106-107.

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For those yet to discover it, Moyo is an amazing online surface pattern design magazine – check out the back copies here.

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In my article I try to encapsulate some of Birmingham’s best bits – well my favourite bits! – from a designer’s point of view.

Claire Leggett_Birmingham Library facade

It was fun to do a bit more research and be a tourist on my own turf – it’s so easy to just go to the same few have places and forget all that’s on offer.

Claire Leggett Birmingham Library

 Apart from the written article, the brief was to design a pattern based on something from my locality so I doodled around with the shapes and negative spaces of the metal patterning on the outside of the building.

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The architects used this metal work to reference the jewellery making past of Birmingham, so this pattern design is aptly titled ” Diamond Cut Circle”.

Claire_Leggett_Birmingham_library_view

This design, Library Circle, came about from the view of circles within circles that can be seen from one of the terraces.

Claire_Leggett Library Circles design

Come and visit one day and be sure to say hello 🙂

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I am feeling unusually proud of my adopted home town since seeing the new library building that has just opened after nearly two years of work.

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It is a beautiful, interesting, useful space with a lot to offer everyone but mostly I just love the look of it and from it.

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Birmingham is a great city to live in because of its proximity to green spaces within easy reach of the city center and this new building gives you amazing views of the skyline and the hills around.

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It’s come under some criticism for architectural style; I heard people grumbling as I went round, and I wanted to say ‘open your eyes – its’ beautiful and we now have a building that every tourist will want to visit and not for the top terrace views alone’.

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very Harry Potter – sorry it’s blurred

As I went round at the weekend I thought there was an air of patriotism though which I hadn’t experienced since the Olympic games.

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I am (reliably, I hope) informed that the outside decoration is in reference to Birmingham’s metal working past and the links with jewellery making – hence the jewel box exterior. Not sure I’d have got that myself unaided but I like it none the less.


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Inside is just as beautifully crafted and has some lovely artwork inside.

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream Su Blackwell

Su Blackwell is a paper sculptor who designed this to commemorate the Shakespeare collection and room in this new library.

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Elsewhere there is artwork by Lucy McLauchlan for shelves and a fabulous mural. Her own photos here show it to it’s best.

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I think these pieces are only there for three months so it will be interesting to watch what comes in their place and how art fits into the new life of this building.

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I shall finish waxing lyrical with a final shot of one of the terraces and I’m only sorry that the weather has turned to winter overnight or I would be up there drinking a latte! Visit if you can.


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