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The world’s most beautiful libraries captured by Thibaud Poirier

Swotting up would never be a chore in the world’s most spectacular libraries.

Parisian photographer Thibaud Poirier has paid tribute to these temples of culture in his latest series, Palaces of self-discovery. Featured edifices include Dublin’s 18th-century Trinity College Library and the Baroque Biblioteca Joanina in Coimbra, Portugal.

‘These libraries have been shot many times before so I’ve tried, through my selection and the play on symmetry, to produce modern portraits of these spaces,’ says Poirier.

The world's most beautiful libraries: Bibliothèque de l'Hôtel de Ville
Bibliothèque de l’Hôtel de Ville. Photography: Thibaud Poirier

Historic spaces – such as the Beaux-Arts Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève in Paris – make up the bulk of the series but it’s not just classical biblioteques that have caught the photographer’s eye. Shots of 21st century libraries, including the Stadtbibliothek Stuttgart by architect Eun Young Yi, stand out in contrast to their older counterparts.

‘Modern libraries have integrated more artificial light thanks to new lighting technology,’ says Poirier. ‘Their design is usually simpler, bare of any ornament, and centred on the flow and use of the space. However books are always the central focus of the space.’

The world's most beautiful libraries: Bibliothèque de la Sorbonne. Photography: Thibaud Poirier
Bibliothèque de la Sorbonne. Photography: Thibaud Poirier

The National Library of France and Berlin’s Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm Centre are among other libraries captured in the ongoing series.

Adds Poirier: ‘I’ll keep adding to it as I travel. Hopefully the next images will come from the United States.’

Read next: Explore America’s libraries via these panoramic photographs



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