A new bookstore in Suzhou, China, is a colourful haven designed to get kids into reading with whimsically-named zones, imaginative design and stunning decor.
Zhongshu Bookstores are known for their striking appearance and the latest branch is no exception. The architects created different worlds, with each zone designed for a specific purpose. There’s the Sanctuary of Crystals, for new arrivals, the Cave of Fireflies, where readers can find recommendations, the Xanadu of Rainbows reading room and the Castle of Innocence, where the children’s books are kept.
Each one is filled with glass bricks, mirrors and brightly-coloured acrylic to create a particular atmosphere. For example, the Sanctuary of Crystals is almost entirely white and clear, with books balanced on prefabricated acrylic ‘crystal’ shelves, and lures customers into the heart of the shop.
Architect Wutopia Lab, based in Shanghai and led by Yu Ting, used the various zones and coloured acrylic to create ‘a metal rainbow’, which she says ‘moves [the shape] from Xanada to ancient Chinese philosophy.’
Inside the Castle of Innocence, translucent ETFE and perforated aluminium sheets in a range of sizes and colours are layered together to create a veil, a private world where children can explore the bookstore, discover new books and make friends.
‘These ambiguous and vague effects gave qualities to the bookstore,’ explains Yu Ting, ‘Some gaps between the panels are larger than others, thus creating spaces of different experiences.’
You can see more of this vibrant bookstore here.