Architecture

Surreal Chinese bookstore warps space with glass, color and light

Surreal Chinese bookstore warp...
Color and symmetry inside the Zhongshuge bookstore
Color and symmetry inside the Zhongshuge bookstore
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Seating area inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
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Seating area inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
The Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China features a cafe area for some timeout
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The Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China features a cafe area for some timeout
A look inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
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A look inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
Glass and reflective surfaces feature heavily in the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
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Glass and reflective surfaces feature heavily in the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
The view across a seating area inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
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The view across a seating area inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
Inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China, by X Living
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Inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China, by X Living
The elegant interior of the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
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The elegant interior of the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
Glass and reflective surfaces feature heavily inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
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Glass and reflective surfaces feature heavily inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
The interior of the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China, uses mirrors to create the feel of a more spacious interior
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The interior of the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China, uses mirrors to create the feel of a more spacious interior
The Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China, offers a unique sense of literary immersion
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The Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China, offers a unique sense of literary immersion
The mirrored ceiling inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
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The mirrored ceiling inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
Walnut and black create an elegant feel inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
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Walnut and black create an elegant feel inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
Color and symmetry inside the Zhongshuge bookstore
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Color and symmetry inside the Zhongshuge bookstore
Clean lines inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
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Clean lines inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
Lamps, mirrors and walnut feature heavily inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
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Lamps, mirrors and walnut feature heavily inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
Children read inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
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Children read inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
Colorful children's section inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
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Colorful children's section inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
Arches and natural light decorate this corner of the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
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Arches and natural light decorate this corner of the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
The Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China features many quiet corners
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The Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China features many quiet corners
The Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China, can warp one's sense of space
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The Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China, can warp one's sense of space
One of the many quiet corners inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
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One of the many quiet corners inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
Ceiling mirrors create a sense of space inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
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Ceiling mirrors create a sense of space inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
Ceiling mirrors create a sense of space inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
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Ceiling mirrors create a sense of space inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
Walnut-colored stairs lead up to these bookshelves inside the surreal Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
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Walnut-colored stairs lead up to these bookshelves inside the surreal Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
Mirrors create a warped sense of space inside the Zhongshuge bookstore
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Mirrors create a warped sense of space inside the Zhongshuge bookstore
Ceiling-mounted mirrors create a warped sense of space inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
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Ceiling-mounted mirrors create a warped sense of space inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
Black and walnut combine to create a warm and elegant interior inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
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Black and walnut combine to create a warm and elegant interior inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
Glass doors open up to a cafe area inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
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Glass doors open up to a cafe area inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
It's not always easy to tell where the bookshelves end and the ceiling begins inside the Zhongshuge bookstore
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It's not always easy to tell where the bookshelves end and the ceiling begins inside the Zhongshuge bookstore
The Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
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The Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
A look inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
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A look inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
The recently completed Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
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The recently completed Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
A quiet corner inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
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A quiet corner inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
An entrance to the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
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An entrance to the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
View gallery - 34 images

Last year, we looked at a bookstore in the Chinese city of Chongqing by X Living that made clever use of mirrors and light to create a spectacular, immersive experience for its visitors, and the local firm has just added the finishing touches to another creation of the same ilk. The recently completed Zhongshuge bookstore brings this aesthetic to the costal city of Ningbo, mixing seemingly infinite bookshelves with quiet reading corners and plenty of places for some time out.

Completed last month, the new Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo covers 1,230 m2 (3,240 ft2) and is spread out across two floors, with a walnut and black color scheme featuring heavily throughout. This matches with lamps and subtle lighting integrated into the shelving to create a warm and elegant interior, with plenty of glass, mirrored ceilings and reflective surfaces to make the space feel much larger than it is.

Walnut-colored stairs lead up to these bookshelves inside the surreal Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
Walnut-colored stairs lead up to these bookshelves inside the surreal Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China

The children’s library is one exception to this, making use of bright colors and irregular shapes to create a playful environment for the young ones. A reading table inspired by rattle, or pellet, drums features, as does shelving shaped like musical instruments.

Children read inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
Children read inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China

Also onsite is a cafe, a cultural and creative area and many book shelves that cut clean lines through the store and offer plenty of opportunities for some quiet browsing. The cafe area takes on a much lighter and airier look, allowing visitors to take five with a cup of coffee while surrounded by natural light and, yep, more mirrored ceilings.

Glass doors open up to a cafe area inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China
Glass doors open up to a cafe area inside the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, China

To see more of the Zhongshuge bookstore in Ningbo, have a flick through our gallery.

Source: X Living

View gallery - 34 images
3 comments
wolf0579
It's too bad that all of that effort and artistry was expended on a bookstore in a country that censors books and all other media. It might as well not exist at all.
buzzclick
Well, it looks like my hunch that the Chinese still like to read books on paper may be true. I have played with mirrors on the ceiling, walls of books and accented lighting for years in my home. It's an awesome effect, but in this context it may be visually too busy and disorienting. Perhaps they should have toned down the mirrors on the ceiling somewhat. I understand this trend to demonize everything China, but why do people in the West often expect other cultures to be like theirs? I don't think the Chinese authorities are as draconian as they're made out to be. Vive la difference!
aki009
What a nice store. And it's so much easier to make it look artsy when only books acceptable to the Chinese Communist Party can be sold. There's probably a whole section on Mao, from Cooking with Mao to What Would Mao Do -- Uighur Repression Edition.