Food for thought

September 15, 2020

Book lover heaven 

When you think about book shops, the first words that come to mind probably won’t be amazing architecture….unless you’ve been to book shops in China. In this country, they have elevated the concept to a whole new level. Book shops over there are not only design masterpieces, they also are places where people can spend time with friends, have a coffee and a pastry, and even work. They are thought as living spaces rather than just somewhere you can buy books. 

Duoyun – Shanghai

Duoyun is literally located above the clouds, on the 52nd floor of Shanghai’s tallest building, Shanghai Tower. At 239 meters high it is China’s highest bookstore. The place is a complete cultural complex that in addition to the bookstore includes a lecture room, exhibition space, a café, a 52-meter bar, a restaurant and a large rooftop garden. The store inventory consists of 60,000 books and 2,000 other reading-related products. The floor was designed, white and shiny, so that on sunny days, the sky can be reflected on it and the shelves create mountain-like shape.

Zhongshuge – Beijing

Located in the Xidan Galeries Lafayette, Zhongshuge is decorated with stacks of arches and a mirrors. Entering the place, customers might feel like stepping into another time and space. The designers have built the place with a Chinese classical garden in mind, where scene changes with every step. The place also offer a concept area, cultural and creative discussion area, a reading café and a children’s library in a cloud-like spatial layout, allowing the classical garden and reading space to merge here.

Sinan – Shanghai

In Shanghai’s Huangpu district, locally based Wutopia Lab agency has recently completed the transformation of the St. Nicholas Church into Sinan Books poetry bookstore. The store offers more than 1,880 poetry titles in the central dome area, including 600 foreign volumes, mainly from Japan, France, the UK, the US, Poland, Italy and Russia. In addition to poetry books there are also books selected by Douban, a Chinese version of MySpace that has special interest groups, as well as a London Review Bookshop and a café. The architect had to keep the exterior of the building intact and decided to create a church-within-a- church” to emphasize and echo the soaring height of the dome. The grid also became a bookshelf system with no back panels which allows light to enter the building. 

   Monia MERABET

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