The swapping bookshelf is a public type of furniture, which can be used 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with no subscription or fee required. It was designed by architects Eleftherios Ambatzis and Irini-Aimilia Ioannidou in such a way, as to provide protection from factors such as weather conditions and vandalism. A solar panel roof supplies power to LED lights placed in every shelf, illuminating the books at night.
The designers’ vision was the widespread use of swapping bookshelves throughout the country, so that they could become a vital element of public space, disseminating knowledge and encouraging social interaction. The first bookshelf was placed in the area of Kifissia in June 2012. In collaboration with the Onassis foundation, two more bookshelves were constructed; one was placed outside the Onassis Cultural Centre, while the second one was a mobile one, touring different areas and cities. After two years of pursuing the project, eight swapping bookshelves were placed altogether in Greece, four in Athens and four in Chania, Crete.