Zhongshuge Bookstore

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When we think of book stores today, most of us probably think of Barnes & Noble or other like retailers. Big boxes filled with a ton of product, organized by about 50 sections all of which house simple wooden shelving fixtures..pretty run of the mill, typical and expected. Zhongshuge Bookstore in Hangzhou, however, is anything but 'typical.'

The space, which is comprised of four major sections, offers an Alice in Wonderland type of feel. The first room upon entering the space presents a bright, airy, open space with multiple floor to ceiling columns slotted with books, and mirrored ceilings, which make the space feel absolutely massive. The second room, accessible directly back from the first room, is much darker..called the 'reading corridor,' the bookcases appear to go on for eternity through the optical illusion created from the additional mirrors in the space. The third space, the reading theatre, an oval shaped space, provides vast amounts of tiered seating where guests can cuddle up with a book..and the final space, located in the back, is the children's reading room, chalked full of childrens books, maps of the galaxy, (climbable) art installations, and tons of nooks and crannies.

3 Things You Should Take Away:
1. The distinct spaces in the shop provide a more dynamic experience. While the store obviously houses loads of books, the 'wonder' of the experience comes from exploring the different rooms, each vastly different from the next. 2. Using mirrors in different ways creates the illusion that the space is much bigger than it actually is. While many book stores (and retail spaces in general) feel small and claustrophobic, Zhongshuge seems even bigger, creating a warm and inviting space. 3. While there is no reported number of cost to create this space, one could assume it was a massive investment. Will this store make any money given the online fulfillment channel has taken so much of book stores traffic and sales? Who knows..but one thing is for certain: If you were walking by this store, you'd be more likely than not to stop in.

Location: Hangzhou, China
Architect: XL Muse