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Bright, Airy Apartment Doubles as a Tucked-Away Bookstore

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Fostering community, one book at a time

If you're a book lover, you might have heard of (or visited) the storied, English-language bookshop Shakespeare and Company located on Paris's Left Bank, where travelers can stay the night in beds tucked between nooks overflowing with books in exchange for helping out in the store.

This new project by Chinese studio Cao Pu creates that kind of a live-in book store in Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province in China. Hidden away on the top floor of a high-rise, formerly a state-owned fireworks company, the space is not only a bookstore and reading room for the public, but also a literal home library for residents in the building.

Natural timber is also at play in this compact apartment, opening up the space while also creating partitions and shelves for additional book storage. Internal windows allow natural light—and conversation—to flow through the rooms, while its "sills" serve as individual reading desks. The bookshop, called Reedom, can accommodate 5,000 books, all of which have been carefully selected to best serve the public, and has already fostered a sense of community among the visitors, neighbors, and residents.