Behind the scenes

Behind the scenes on the ’I am a member’ movie

Vita June (of Vita June Studios) and I talked about this movie for years until I finally got it together to decide to do it. Incidentally, Vita was one of the first Library members to move in to The Library Ixelles, where she still works. So not only is she artistically gifted, she also knows almost as much about The Library and its’ journey as I do.

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Why the childhood references in the beginning?

I thought it would be nice to explain the name ‘The Library’ and also to illustrate the twists and turns that life brings that can take you from hanging out with your mum at the library on a remote Danish island to launching The Library Group in Brussels. I always meant the name – The Library – to be a tribute to my mum and this is a way of showing it.

What does the tapping foot mean?

There are a lot of symbolic references in the movie and this one is meant to show the impatience and high tempo connected with being an entrepreneur. And then it works well with music of course.

Where is this filmed?

All of the scenes are filmed at The Library Ambiorix. I’d have loved to show all three Libraries, but we wanted this movie to be about the atmosphere rather than have it be a tour of real estate. And for practical reasons, it also made sense to stay in one location. So it became The Library Ambiorix, because of the blue meeting room and the special door handles. If you look closely, you can see that they are shaped like lion’s heads: a fantastic, original detail from the 1920s.

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What’s with the cakes?

From the beginning, I wanted this enormous Alice in Wonderland, magical, over-the-top cake. Because it kind of is over-the-top that Library members eat homemade cakes and cookies and energy bars several times a week, right? So the big cake was a given. Then we came up with the idea of having the little cake to illustrate the time, when I was on my own, working from home in solitude, ‘searching for hygge’. And then of course it grew to a big cake as The Library grew. Luckily, our colleague, Erica, is also a cake decorator and she really outdid herself with these two. What you can’t see in the movie is how wonderfully they smelled and tasted. 

Who are these gorgeous people acting as Library members?

Well, the beauty of it is that all these people are or were Library members, who also became my friends. You really do make friends in coworking…So no acting required really. And they all have such great charisma that I just knew they would light up the screen. Our main issue was Oliver being too charming, so we’d had to keep re-shooting the scenes due to too much giggling. 

Are the flowers real?

Of course! My 92 year old mother in law spent weeks contacting garden centres in Holland waiting for Hydrangeas to come into season, while we were all crossing our fingers that it would happen before we were set to shoot. For weeks after the shooting, you could see them all over the Libraries. Just like the cake, the idea was to take something that is a given at The Library (homemade cake and fresh flowers) and play up the magic of it by making it bigger and even more beautiful.

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Where does all this Danish design come from?

The poster of Ærø (the island where I grew up) is from Vissevasse, the coffee cups are from Kähler, the plates and teapot from Royal Copenhagen and the wooden tables have been custom-made for The Library by Recollection. The round sofa table is from Menu. Wallpaper is from Tapet-Café, the pendant lamps are from Le Klint and the little porcelain pieces here and there are from Ditte Maigaard. Finally, my jewellery is from Marianne Dulong, which is the company I worked for, when I was working from home (post-The Library). In other words; a few of my favourite things…

Is there anything you would do differently?

I would get more sleep before the gruelling 13 hours of shooting, but otherwise everything went according to Vita’s super coordinated plan. Despite an un-seasonal snowstorm in Brussels, everybody made it on time and we had a lot of fun together as I think you can see. My favourite part was filming the cake and the flower scenes, because both cakes and flowers looked exactly as they had in my imagination. And then of course watching Vita work and having my friends – members and colleagues – come together to help me make a Library movie. 

Just magical.