A new bookstore in China with sweeping staircases and illusionary mirrors looks like something created by Dutch artist M.C. Escher.
The new store, Dujiangyan Zhongshuge, is in west of Chengdu in the Sichuan province, and boasts architectural features meant to surprise and confuse patrons, with spiral staircases, many archways, and cleverly placed mirrors to create and illusion of space.
It was designed by architect Li Xiang who drew inspiration from the Unesco World Heritage–listed Dujiangyan irrigation system to create the flowing river-like designs within the 10,500-square-foot bookshop.
“We moved the local landscape into the indoor space,” Li tells Architectural Digest’s Elizabeth Stamp. “The project is located in Dujiangyan, which is a city with a long history of water conservancy development, so in the main area, you [can] see the construction of the dam integrated into the bookshelves.”
The Dujiangyan store uses a mirrored ceiling to give patrons a sense of limitless open space. Book fill every space in the curved ceiling-high shelves, while the shiny black tiles under foot creates a reflective lake-like floor. The books on the highest shelves are purely decorative but the 80,000 books within readers’ reach are readable.
Each area is designed with the visitors in mind- including the children’s reading room which is decorated with panda posters, bamboo bookshelves, and multicoloured cushions.
X+Living also designed Zhongshuge branches in Guangzhou, Yangzhou, Minhang and Chongqing, among other locations across China.