Designed by Shanghai-based architectural studio X+Living, the store’s grand reading area takes inspiration from old libraries in European universities (with a surreal touch in its mirror ceilings). Inside, the design features booths where shoppers can comfortably peruse their books–very much unlike many contemporary bookstores, which force people to camp out in the aisles.
The bookstore is located on the 3rd and 4th floors of a shopping area called Zodi Plaza. Visitors enter into a dark lobby full of bookshelves and tall, tapered cylinders, which are empty and illuminated by globes of soft white light. People can use these cylindrical nooks as private reading booths. Their shapes are reflected on the mirrored ceiling, making the space appear infinite. There’s also a colorful children’s area full of geometric shapes that form new shelves. Again, the use of mirrors on the ceiling turn these shapes and nooks into an intricate geometric wonderland.
And finally, as you walk into the lobby, a corridor of books leads you into the reading area–a giant room that spans through two floors and features the store’s distinctive, Escher-like staircases. The architect say via email that the biggest challenge was bringing characteristics of the city into the store’s design, since they intended to make visitors feel like they were in the charming Chongqing when they’re reading. Judging by the bookstore, I need to visit.