Awe-inspiring bookstore spirals sideways through history and literature
A magnificent and surreal new bookstore has swung its doors open in China, inviting visitors to take a one-of-a-kind walk through space and time. Conceived by local firm X+Living, the Shenzhen Zhongshuge bookshop features a massive spiraling staircase laid sideways as both a functional bookshelf and art installation that's designed to convey the twisting trajectory of history and literature.
The striking new bookstore in China isn't the first to fit such a description from designers at X+Living, who last year opened a shop in the coastal city of Ningbo that used clever mix of glass and light to create seemingly infinite bookshelves brimming with color. This followed another opened in the city of Chongqing in 2019 that also used reflective surfaces on the floors and ceiling to create an utterly unique immersive experience.
Its Zhongshuge bookstore for the city of Shenzhen might just be its most eye-catching yet. Inspired in part by Russian writer Maxim Gorky's observation that "books are the ladder of human progress," the installation stretches from the shop's entrance to its exit and is designed to serve as a functional bookshelf, (though we'd hazard a guess that at least some are for display purposes only). A shiny display table cuts through its center to denote the "passage of time."
Viewed from a particular angle, the installation appears like a clock dial, with the handrails running along the length of the laid-down staircase taking on the appearance of clock hands. This alludes to the fact "that this is a ladder of history that has been built up over countless hours, conveying the sense that history is being pushed through time at a rapid pace," according to X+Living.
Also onsite at the 1,300-sq-m (14,000-sq-ft) Shenzhen Zhongshuge bookstore is a colorful and playful children's reading area, where bold lines imprint a castle and ferris wheel on the wall. A large glass facade allows passers by to appreciate the spectacular interior, while there are also dedicated spaces for forums and conferences inside.
Completed this month, the bookstore can be found in the Qianhai economic zone of the city of Shenzhen.