Shanghai architect X+Living has published images of its newly completed bookstore in the city of Huai’an in Jiangsu Province.
The architect describes its design for the Zhongshuge chain as “tearing open a portal through time and space” and adds that it gives residents a break from the “repetitiveness and mundanity of reinforced concrete”.
The store’s interior is based on a medieval astronomical model known as the orrery, with a possible nod to Jorge Luis Borges’ infinite library.
The aim, in the words of the architect, is to “conjure a celestial spectacle of concentric rings within the confines of the interior – a wormhole into dreams, a Milky Way to the mind, constructing a vast, expansive cosmic reverie”.
The mind-bending effect is increased by mirrored ceilings, although also brought back to Earth by the glass facade through which the surrounding shopping mall can be seen.
Altogether, the 810 sq m bookshop has 20,000 books, arranged on walnut shelves along a “reading corridor” and an ovular reading room, complete with cushions, brass reading lamps, and wooden floor.
The lead designer on the scheme was Li Xiang, who graduated from Birmingham City University in England. She founded X+Living in 2011.
So far, the designer has worked on five stores for Zhongshuge. Three others are in Shanghai and the fourth is in Yangzhou.