Innovative Design Library Debuts in Union Market District

by Aaron Royce

The pop-up, “Resource,” features eclectic styling and hundreds of books.

Guests enjoy the Resource launch event. Photo by Travis Vaughn.

Union Market has opened its space to a new pop-up, Resource, pioneered by Form Function Studio. Resource is the first of its kind, featuring lendable design materials and a retail component for local artisans’ works. Last weekend’s opening, featuring drinks by Cotton & Reed, brought a diverse crowd of creatives to the venue, which was externally branded with its address in pink and purple art tags.

Form Function principal Alison Beshai created Resource with the goal of lending expensive materials in an accessible fashion, similar to a library. “I wanted to create a space where design books and magazines could be free, like a library, but public libraries have so many locations that their design content is very thinly spread. I wanted one place where it could live,” she says.

A selection of books available at Resource. Photo by Travis Vaughn.

The all-white interior—enhancing the industrial aesthetic of the space—was populated by bookshelves piled with design books, alongside a seating area with modern furniture atop woven rugs. Custom fixtures and pieces were designed by architecture firm Gensler, which partnered with rand* construction to oversee Resource’s buildout. There’s an eclectic nature to these pieces, which were loaned, purchased or built from existing material.

“Everything that was built was made from repurposed materials,” reveals Beshai, who styled the furniture for Resource’s design phase and quick two-week buildout. “The bookshelves and tables are made from shipping pallets, and other shelves are made from milk crates and plywood. The space is industrial, so we wanted to lean into that for design but didn’t want to take away from the streets we’re on. There’s a lot of vendors on 4th Street and Union Market, so you see shipping pallets here all the time. We wanted to engage with the existing community, and use those materials to reflect that.”

Guests browse Resource’s literature. Photo by Travis Vaughn.

In addition to its sustainability focus, Resource focuses on design literature—books on fashion, architecture, art and the like—which aren’t always available for public consumption. These are free for people to read at Resource, and can be scanned to be read at home—so they’re accessible to all.

“I think it caters to anyone, just like a library does. I hope that [it caters to] people who live here, people who work here, designers, or people who are already fans of this kind of print, and people who don’t know anything about design,” Beshai says. “The whole idea is for it to be a resource—like the name—to break down that barrier that design is only flashy or expensive or luxurious.”

Photo by Travis Vaughn.

Based on reactions from its opening, Resource is anticipated to be a Market hotspot this fall. It will run until November 18 with potential for travel, an extended lease or permanent location. “The response has been overwhelmingly positive,” Beshai says. “I’ve had people come to me and say, ‘This is exactly what we’ve needed.’ I’ve had people ask me if they can donate books for the space, which really warms my heart, because they said it inspired them to want to share their print material. I’ve had other people just say they want to spend all their time in here. I couldn’t be happier.”

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