This bookstore in China offers 80,000 titles and an immersive M.C. Escher-style illusion


Shanghai-based architecture firm X+Living has completely transformed the simple experience of reading a book by turning a bookstore in Chengdu into a two-story cathedral-like space. The inside of this edifice, called Dujiangyan Zhongshuge, is even more impressive. It houses a cafe on the first floor and a children’s area occupied by a bamboo forest and pandas climbing the bookcases. In the rest of the two-story space, the uppermost shelves lining the winding walkways are covered in a decorative print, adding to the illusion of countless volumes and ensuring all 80,000 available titles are within a customer’s reach.


Li Xiang, the founder of X+Living, says, “The mirror ceiling in the space is the signature of Zhongshuge bookstore. It effectively extends the space by reflection. The project is located in Dujiangyan, which is a city with a long history of water conservancy development, so in the main area, you could see the construction of the dam integrated into the bookshelves.”

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Like the Tianjin Binhai Library, the X+Living firm has also used film printed with books on the upper shelves so it would appear that books stretched from floor to ceiling. It’s not just the books or the unending illusion of it that will leave your jaw dropped but the bold archways, reflective tile floor that makes the display tables appear like floating boats, and a mirror embedded in the ceiling to create a seemingly endless loop of stairways and shelving that adds a mystical, dramatic angle to this space.

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The second level’s balcony is filled with seating, where customers can browse through their selections, work, or meet. Each space was carefully considered to add to the overall experience. “This project is a holistic concept,” says Li, “We needed to coordinate every part of the space to ensure that any functional item, whether it is a bookshelf or a desk, does not break away from the theme of the concept and at the same time has a sense of beauty.

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[Via: Architectural Digest]