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Shao Feng & X+Living, China, library

Beyond Imagination: Bookshop by X+Living

A river runs through a mountainous landscape. Beside it, there is the entrance to a cave where stalactites drip - the image of this landscape calls to mind fantastic adventures, expeditions and epic stories. The place where all these stories can be read is the Zhongshuge bookshop in the Chinese city of Guiyang. Its spaces have been copied from naturally formed landscapes; they invite customers to read and experience.

Book sales are booming in China. However, it is still difficult for sellers to attract customers to shops. Buying online is too easy and convenient, particularly for products not selected primarily for their appearance or feel. But architect Li Xiang has designed a spatial experience that is worth a visit. Two twining corridors lead from the entranceways to the interior of the bookshop. Black, reflective glass on the floor resembles a smooth water surface, and the bookshelves fit into the curved wall like the formers of a ship. Through this cave-like space, customers move to the right to enter the boutique reading area, where a large shelving grid divides the space into many individual, square-shaped subject areas.

Should anyone tire after intensive topic-related research, the architect recommends dropping into the adjacent children’s department. This space, designed as a creative fairy-tale world, shows traditional patterns by ethnic minorities from the region. The open reading room is located at the other end of the sales area, which measures 3,400 m². Here, more than 50 seats invite customers to browse through their finds.

The heart of the shop is home to a terraced event space. Readings can take place here while audience members sit on the surrounding steps. Wood-clad surfaces make a warm, intimate atmosphere. The mirrored ceiling creates the illusion of a cavernous space done completely in wood.

Further information:

Design: Li Xiang
Project leader: Liu Huan

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DETAIL 5/2021


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