Chengdu Zhongshuge, China
Jinhui E St, Wuhou Qu, Chengdu Shi, Sichuan Sheng, China, 610041
Chinese bookstore chain Zhongshuge has been undergoing a revitalisation at the hands of Shanghai-based designer Li Xiang of X+Living. Each store has its own character, while remaining steeped in the brand’s quirkiness and whimsy. The chain’s massive Chengdu store is its latest offering, and the result is a curvilinear, architectural space that truly captures the imagination.
Li Xiang of X+Living has created a whimsical, imaginative bookstore space to delight readers’ imaginations.
Concave ‘bamboo tree’ shelves that reach from floor to ceiling greet visitors beyond the curtainwall. Similar shapes are captured in a mirrored, stepped lecture hall for author events, whose golden-edged layers evoke the windswept strata of a desertscape.
With notes of Alice in Wonderland, a vibrant, colourful children’s area features shelves designed to resemble a forest and its inhabitants: set at trunk-like angles, green boughs and branches are interspersed with bright panda cut-outs. Enormous metallic mushroom caps hover over displays formed into bridges and islands, and a mirrored ceiling adds to the fantastical feel.
A more restrained adults’ reading area incorporates red brick and dark shelving redolent of a library, although there are still small moments of lightheartedness, such as the books hidden within the stairwell.
In a world where online shopping is devouring booksellers’ profit margins, bookshops are increasingly becoming more than book purveyors. With its imaginative, immersive design and emphasis on experience and events, Zhongshuge is rewriting the bookshop narrative.