Bookstore in China makes creative use of white space

posted on Monday, 8th July 2019 by Chris Jenkins

Architecture  Retail 


Wutopia Lab recently designed a bookstore for Zhongshu in Xi’an, one of the oldest cities in China, and the stunning results prove the adages about the creative use of white space.
Using 300 tons of steel and 30,000 meters of light strips, the 1886m2 design features a pillarless white curvy staircase, highlighted by a spiral white panel, surrounded by custom-made white acrylic walls. “Readers coming from their everyday life, heading up the stairs step by step, are encouraged by the spirit of knowledge and curiosity displayed through the books around them to enter the bookstore over the clouds”, say the designers.
Instead of a direct entry into the bookstore, a glittering entrance in the commercial space on the fourth floor leaves free the floor slab of fifth floor leading into the main area of the bookstore without destroying the main structure.


The basic space of the bookstore consists of popular book recommendation areas and public reading areas, featuring a “reading paradise” over “clouds”, with a light and streamlined free space. In order to meet fire codes, 5mm thick steel plates were used to create customizes curved bookshelves. The steel frame hidden behind the foundation is used as the support of the cantilevered structure of over 3,000 meters of long steel-plated bookshelves apparently floating in the air. Each piece of steel plate was optimized through programming, processed by CNC machine tools, and then assembled on site according to numbering.
The free flowing bookshelf outlined by a curve has a total of ten levels, making full use of the corners of the public reading area. The rounded chamfers leave the space with no sharp corners, and the back panel is made with translucent acrylic; while the book recommendation area of the white bookstore suspends a triangular steel plate with a slender screw, so that the books displayed above seem to float in the air.


Zhongshu Bookstore's children's library is a crystal structure hidden in a forest, featuring a hidden world of playful tricks and caves, and skylines of architecture, blue skies and starry nights.
The design and construction of Zhongshu Bookstore took 600 days and is part of an urban revival taking place in Xi’an, formerly the capital to 13 dynasties.
Photos by CreatAR Images.

Chris Jenkins

Inside ID contributor Chris Jenkins is the Editor of Arts & Collections, and a freelance technology and industry journalist...

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