China is rapidly becoming an international hot spot with a budding middle-class yearning for western luxuries and comforts. Beijing kids are treated to this trend of indulgence with the Kids Republic, a children’s bookstore that transports its pint-sized customers into a delightful fairytale world full of colour and fantasy – complete with massive storytelling screens and plays areas. It’s a haven for little imaginations in the heart of one of the biggest cities in the world. 36-year-old Japanese architect Keiichiro Sako’s design for children’s bookstore Kid’s Republic gives full play to the innocence, fun and inquisitiveness of the young, conjuring up images of childhood that are sure to enchant anyone walking through the doors. Twelve bands of colour weave their way around the activity room to create a rainbow-like décor for a space used for storytelling and anime screenings.
Recesses in walls and ceiling accommodate light fittings and displays, and the stepped floor forms a natural stage and auditorium. The carpet provides a comfortable surface that invites children to sit or sprawl wherever takes their fancy. A ribbon of rainbow colours starts at the bottom of the stairs next to the entrance and winds its way up to the floor above, metamorphosing into various objects along the way. Functioning in places as bookshelf, table and gates, it twists and twirls to form counters and even ceiling parts, travelling a hundred meters before finally turning into a backdrop for the handrail that leads back down the stairwell to where it all began. Wish I could turn back the clock and be there as a kid all over again to explore the vibrantly coloured twists-twirls and of course the books!