Francly: The Couture Library with Greg Sheaf of Trinity College Dublin

 
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The Couture Library

Portraits by Ivan Rakhmanin

Editorial by Lorna and Simon Mills, unpublished FRANC issue four

Host Briony Somers

 

Greg recommends listening to 'I Am The Walrus' (1967) by The Beatles as you read this.

 

Trinity College’s Berkeley Library is a couture library. Designed by a young Paul Koralek and completed in 1967, the Berkeley is a perplexing and counter-intuitive space that forces you to find your own world inside its chaos. Its design and knowledge yield to you only when you accept how vastly they can engulf you.

 

FRANC found its world in the Berkeley in the year of its fiftieth anniversary. As our editor finished her degree, we spent the summer in LaunchBox - the entrepreneurial program run out of the library’s foyer. We shot a film and the first editorial of our fourth issue in the library with documentary photographers Lorna and Simon Mills. Our world got to engulf the library on the 4th November 2017 when, with ample amounts of whiskey, we celebrated the new issue with a party.  

 

By carefully reflecting the particularities of humanity, rather than creating something smooth and straightforward, it gives rise to creations that are challenging and complicated. Purity of purpose shows us a perspective that we connect with through a struggle; through surrendering a love of cautious accommodation for messy compassion.

 

In this episode, we sit down with assistant librarian Greg Sheaf to show some messy compassion for the library. After lengthy chats in both the library and the College’s Alumni Room we sat in the Trinity FM studio to discuss the library’s design legacy, the democratisation of culture and challenging perceptions.

 

AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD ON ITUNES

 
 Greg Sheaf at the intersection of the 20th century Berkeley Library and the 19th Century Museum building

Greg Sheaf at the intersection of the 20th century Berkeley Library and the 19th Century Museum building

“It had a major impact on campus, there was nothing like it. It was like it had just been dropped from the sky.” - Greg

 
 Eh-Jae Kim in Dries Van Noten and COS

Eh-Jae Kim in Dries Van Noten and COS

 

“It's so grounded in its own structure that you kind of find your little world inside it.”  - Briony

 
 
 Greg in the Berkeley Library loading bay

Greg in the Berkeley Library loading bay

 

“I always saw the Berkley as being almost like a work of art, as being a giant sculpture.” - Greg

 
 Eh-Jae in Victoria Beckham, Stable and COS

Eh-Jae in Victoria Beckham, Stable and COS

 

“I mean, its an introverts dream.” - Briony

 
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“to a degree, you meet it halfway, you have to learn how it works in order to get the best out of the structure. You need to get to know it” - Greg  

 
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“It's almost like the Comme des Garçons of libraries. You look at it and it's a bit chaotic and confusing and it feels it doesn’t quite fit, but then you spend time with it and you understand the nuances of it, and then you kind of fall in love with it.” - Briony

 
 Amelia in Marni and COS

Amelia in Marni and COS

“I think the best art challenges you, the best academia, the best scholarship challenges you and it makes you ask questions about what it is you’re doing, what it is you like, what it is you love.”  - Greg

 Amelia in Isabel Marant and COS

Amelia in Isabel Marant and COS

"What is different now is that theres far more exposure and anyone can be exposed, can have exposure to something ...  and I think that is what is fundamentally different to what has gone before." – Greg

 
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"Preconceptions are handy things, they enable you to do shortcuts to things…….But it’s also interesting when you want to try and flip that on its head and do different things like launch a fashion magazine." – Greg

 
 Greg in one of his well known three piece suits

Greg in one of his well known three piece suits

 

“I would be fairly well known in the library... known for wearing three piece suits.” - Greg

 

This episode is sponsored by Electronic Sheep and Workbench, Bank of Ireland

 
 
Louise Hynes