Bookmarks Nonprofit Bookstore & Literary Arts Gathering Space
Bookmarks is a nonprofit literary arts organization that began as a books festival. After growing to become the largest festival in the Carolinas and developing partnerships with cultural and community organizations throughout Winston-Salem, they decided to expand their presence to include an independent bookstore and gathering space.
The site for their new venture was a 1920s masonry building that had operated as the garage behind the Nash automobile dealership on West Fourth Street, one of downtown’s main thoroughfares. The garage building was connected back to Fourth Street via an open air breezeway cut through the Nash Building. Fundamental deployed a simple design move - canting the west wall of the store slightly - to allow the books and activity of the store to be visible from the street through the breezeway.
The program called for the bookstore to function as both a retail and gathering space. Fundamental’s design solution was to wrap the perimeter of the store with continuous linear shelving and then punctuating it at strategic moments - in the children’s area with risers for storytime and other programming, at the event stage area with mobile bookcases, a built-in “trundle” stage, and nested podium, and at the entry to Footnote, Bookmark’s cafe/bar/event space neighbor - to inject social spaces into the bookstore.
Bookmarks was selected as a Best of Year Honoree in Interior Design’s 2018 awards. It was the recipient of the 2018 Count Zinzendorf Award by the Winston-Salem/ Forsyth County Community Appearance Commission for “contributing to the attractiveness and enjoyment of the greater downtown Winston-Salem area”.
photo credits: Keith Isaacs