Reimagining the bookstore

From the moment you see the transparent acrylic shelves and translucent ETFE, it's clear you've stepped into a different world
Story by: Trends
A new take on the bookstore architecture, ceiling, design, glass, interior design, light, lighting, line, product design, gray
A new take on the bookstore

Architect: Wutopia LabPhotographer: HU Yijie, CreatAR (AI Qing, MAO Yingchen, SHI Kaichen)About the project: Zhongshu Bookstore, designed by Yu Ting of Wutopia Lab, is a decidedly new take on the bookshop. It's clear from the moment you walk through the front door that you're not in a space filled with dusty tomes and stacks of old novellas.The store is divided into four distinct zones, as the architect wanted to create 'a colourful new world, with each area having a unique character'.Zone one is the 'the Sanctuary of Crystal', the space you first enter when you arrive at the bookstore. Then, you move into 'the Cave of Fireflies'. This area was designed for book recommendations. Moving on, there's 'the Xanadu of Rainbows' reading room and 'the Castle of Innocence' area for children's books.‘The Sanctuary of Crystal’ is a space full of books and nothing else. The latest arrivals are arranged on the pre-fabricated transparent acrylic shelves. It's a shining white space, luring customers into the heart of the store.After the whiteness, ‘the Cave of Fireflies’ is a darker tunnel connecting the main hall and the entrance. Customers pick books here and follow the guide of optic fibres into the main reading area.After a relatively narrow space, ‘the Xanadu of Rainbows’ is a welcome change – large and open. Thanks to the large windows, natural light pours inside. Taking advantage of different height shelves, steps, and tables, the architect has created an abstracted landscape of cliffs, valleys, islands, rapids, and oases.There are also thin perforated aluminium sheets, coated in gradient colours, to simulate rainbows in the bookstore. These 1cm thin panels divide zones of different functions and at the same time bring a mysterious atmosphere to the space.At the very end of ‘the Xanadu of Rainbows’ is the children books area – the space surrounded by white ETFE walls. With the help of translucent ETFE, the Castle of Innocence is an inner world within the bookstore. Children can interact with each other and with the bookstore itself.The perforated aluminium sheets play a huge part in the project. When half of the sheets were perforated, they lost the visual quality of shining metals. When multiple panels of different sizes and colours were fixed together, a sense of a 'veil' is created. This ambiguous and vague effect gives the bookstore an interesting feeling.The distance between each set of panels is also of great importance. Some gaps between panels are larger than others. Again, with the almost translucent quality of the panels, the boundaries between each individual space are weakened. With the use of lights, the colourful sheets can also be seen from outside, making the bookstore an inviting destination.


Oct 17, 2017
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