Designed by architectural firm X+Living, this breath-taking bookstore brings book buying in Beijing to a whole different level.
Bursting with creative ideas, like unmanned 24-hour intelligent bookstore, China is a bit like Silicon Valley for book lovers, taking bookshops and libraries to a completely different level in their innovation and architectural design.
And this year, the country raised the bar yet again with X+Living’s new Zhongshuge Bookstore. Occupying 12,000-square feet and located in the Lafayette department store in Beijing, the bookstore was created by chief designer Li Xiang and project directors Rea Lijiao and Wu Feng – and it’s unlike you’ve ever seen before.
Architectural firm X+Living is known for creating out-of-the-box, perplexing designs for Zhongshuge bookstores – and their newest creation is inspired by traditional Chinese gardens. The design is characterized by intriguing circular structures and flowing arched forms that invite readers to wander around the bookstore – just like they would in a classical garden.
The Beijing Zhongshuge Lafayette store is divided into five areas – a conceptual area, a cultural and creative area, a study area, an area dedicated to children’s books, and a café – all inspired by different elements of the Chinese tradition.
The conceptual area, for example, is characterized by arched openings reminiscent of classic circular openings in the walls of traditional Chinese gardens called the Moon Gates; then, there’s the creative area – a minimalistic, elegant spin on the symbol of Chinese nature – the bamboo grove. Later on, the study hall, built around a symmetrical layout, is divided by luminous walls, while the brightly colored and playful children’s area is a paradise for the little ones. Finally, the café is decorated with irregular and flowing-shaped tables – and once all the seats are occupied, it resembles the famous Chinese painting, “Qu Shui Liu Shang”.
Scroll on to take a peek inside the breathtakingly hypnotic design of the new Zhongshuge Bookstore.
Beijing bookstore like traditional Chinese gardens
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Fascinated by how books influence culture and society, and especially keen on fiction. Still not fully convinced to ebooks, Kasia reads on a Kindle from time to time. But, whenever possible, she'll always pick print.
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Coriolanus released the fistful of cabbage into the pot of boiling water and swore that one day it would never pass his lips again. But this was not that day. He needed to eat a large bowl of the anemic stuff, and drink every drop of broth, to prevent his stomach from growling during the reaping ceremony. It was one of a long list of precautions he took to mask the fact that his family, despite residing in the penthouse of the Capitol’s most opulent apartment building, was as poor as district scum. That at eighteen, the heir to the once-great house of Snow had nothing to live on but his wits.
His shirt for the reaping was worrying him. He had an acceptable pair of dark dress pants bought on the black market last year, but the shirt was what people looked at. Fortunately, the Academy provided the uniforms it required for daily use. For today’s ceremony, however, students were instructed to be dressed fashionably but with the solemnity the occasion dictated. Tigris had said to trust her, and he did. Only his cousin’s cleverness with a needle had saved him so far. Still, he couldn’t expect miracles.
The shirt they’d dug from the back of the wardrobe—his father’s, from better days—was stained and yellowed with age, half the buttons missing, a cigarette burn on one cuff. Too damaged to sell in even the worst of times, and this was to be his reaping shirt? This morning he had gone to her room at daybreak, only to find both his cousin and the shirt missing. Not a good sign. Had Tigris given up on the old thing and braved the black market in some last-ditch effort to find him proper clothing? And what on earth would she possess worth trading for it? Only one thing—herself—and the house of Snow had not yet fallen that far. Or was it falling now as he salted the cabbage?