Photography – Iwan Baan
Kibera school, Nairobi 2016
Second Home helped fund a school building designed by SelgasCano that provides education for orphans and disadvantaged children in the urban slum of Kibera — the biggest in Africa — in Nairobi.
The project is a collaboration with architecture photographer Iwan Baan and New York architecture studio Helloeverything, and replaces a ramshackle structure in corrugated metal for the Kibera Hamlet School.
The design started life as a pavilion at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art near Copenhagen in Denmark, which paid for its initial construction and the materials as part of its AFRICA exhibition, before it was transported in shipping containers by Second Home to Kenya. Used by more than 600 children, the simple structure is made of brightly coloured scaffolding poles with a deconstructed polycarbonate roof and water containers used as foundations. Inside, arranged on two levels, are small classrooms formed of chipboard and divided by netting.
Libreria, London Spring 2016
Designed by SelgasCano for Second Home, Libreria is a bookshop, printing press and community space on Hanbury Street, East London. Drawing inspiration from Jorge Borges’ The Library of Babel, a short story about an infinite library, the shop features a shiny, mirrored ceiling and a mirror at one end that gives the illusion that the bright-yellow, shuttered ply bookshelves continue further.
Book genres are organised in layers horizontally across the shelves instead of vertically in sections, to encourage people to stumble across titles they might not otherwise have done. The space is strictly phonefree and there is no wifi. Shelving units and tables in the middle of the space have wheels on and can be moved to one side for events.
It’s hosted live music with spoken-word poetry and grime artists, workshops and film screenings, and even opened for 24 hours to celebrate the opening of the Night Tube. Says Silva: ‘When we started Second Home, about a fifth of the shops on Hanbury Street were shut and derelict; now if you walk down the street not a single shop is empty, and I think we played a big part in that.’
Libreria has also recently received an alcohol licence and will be hosting monthly literary booze nights on famous literary drinkers.