X+Living’s Hypnotic New Zhongshuge Bookstore

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The architecture firm X+Living is known for creating imaginative, fantastical bookstores for the Zhongshuge brand. Some rooms in the stores look like they were descended from Alice in Wonderland, others from M.C. Escher, and still others from a Carlos Ruiz Zafón novel.

The latest, Beijing’s second Zhongshuge location, defies all sweeping categorizations. Occupying 12,000-square feet, it was created by chief designer Li Xiang and project directors Rea Lijiao and Wu Feng.

“With reference to the expression techniques of Chinese classical gardens, the designer connects various functional areas with different formats of space layout, and sketched the flowing path for consumers to explore,” the firm writes. “The bookshelves are both a canvas and a wall, making the door porch like a painting unfolding gradually.”

Here’s a brief tour of the space from X+Living.

Evolved from the form of a classic Moon Gate [a traditional passageway into Chinese gardens], various circular holes were spread in the space. Apart from acting as a traffic corridor connecting spaces, some of them even function as frames displaying exquisite views.

The arrangement of tables and chairs in the cafe is distributed casually but in great order, simulating a gathering of ancient people in a famous Chinese painting called Qu Shui Liu Shang.

The ease of walking in bamboo groves is a delicate mood experience that designers present to readers. … The extremely simplified wood branches, through skillful arrangement, have completed the turn from microscopic image to macroscopic view.

Through the bamboo grove and walking into the study hall, the designer created a ceremonial and secluded elegant atmosphere by using the central symmetrical layout of traditional architecture. The bookshelf is inspired by screen art, on the back of which is the lamp box acting as a light source.

The children's library is a unique world built for kids. The designer used simplified lines and figures to create a cartoon city, with wavy streamlines for rivers and spheres for cornices.