Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China

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The store's interior rainbow is visible from the street, inviting visitors to take a look.

The store's interior rainbow is visible from the street, inviting visitors to take a look.

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A striking recommendations section is lit by fibre optic wires.

A striking recommendations section is lit by fibre optic wires.

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A children's section features cubbies and structures to explore.

A children's section features cubbies and structures to explore.

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Tents provide visual interest and nooks for young visitors to read.

Tents provide visual interest and nooks for young visitors to read.

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A central rainbow forms the store's main attraction.

A central rainbow forms the store's main attraction.

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Window-side reading areas provide incredible views.

Window-side reading areas provide incredible views.

Photography courtesy of HU Yijie

Zhongshu Books, Suzhou, China


Location:

Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China

Design Credit:

Wutopia Lab

With its one-of-a-kind, exploratory designs, China’s Zhongshu bookstore chain extends the voyage of discovery beyond the covers of its stock. Its latest outing, in Suzhou, is a rainbow wonderland spanning 1380 sqm across four colourful zones.

Wutopia Lab has crafted a bookstore setting home to a colourful spectrum of ideas.

Visitors journey through two exhibition-style spaces before arriving in the unforgettably vibrant main hall. New arrivals are on display in the Sanctuary of Crystal, a gleaming white space where promoted titles are featured on transparent acrylic shelves. Glass bricks and mirrors form a crystalline perimeter. Next is the Cave of Fireflies, which houses recommendations from staff. Moody and dark, it glows dimly from the light of floor-to-ceiling fibre optic wires.

Beyond these smaller rooms the space opens out into the expansive multi-coloured hall dubbed the Xanadu of Rainbows. Tiered shelving, steps and tables create a sense of the undulating topography of nature, while perforated aluminium sheets deliver a vibrant gradient that gives the room its name. This space features popular titles along with an open stage area for events and a cafe. Natural light pours in through large windows overlooking the street, with tucked-away reading areas giving visitors an opportunity to enjoy the sights.

Children’s books are on display in the Castle of Innocence, which incorporates translucent walls and cubby house structures designed for exploring.

Deliberately lit so that its rainbow interior forms a beacon from the street, the store colourfully embodies the notion that retail should be a destination.


Words by Stephanie Campisi


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