China has been developing a reputation for incredible libraries and bookstores lately. There was the twig-covered village-saver, the seaside concrete mammoth, the cave-like reading refuge, and now this: a 10,800-square-foot bookstore that definitely looks like something out of a sci-fi movie.
While futuristic at first glance, the inspiration for the space actually comes from the past, specifically the network of rivers and arched bridges that made the city an important commercial hub centuries ago. In the entrance hall, walls of books soar to form an arched ceiling, a striking sight amplified by black mirror glass floors that seem to turn the place into a watery tunnel to bookworm paradise. That sanctuary, with dramatic curves and soft light, is at once trippy and intimate.
The children’s area features some predictable fun shapes and bright colors, but a starry ceiling and reconfigurable shelving system suggest that even this part of the space strays from the norm.