We Could Spend Hours in This Stunningly Surreal Bookstore

When I need to escape from the world, I often turn to books. As an extension of that, I’ve spent some of my happiest hours browsing bookstores. It doesn’t matter what kind of books the shop sells; as long as there are shelves and aisles to wonder, it’s perfect. But a new bookstore in China may be the most perfect. Situated in Chengdu, Dujiangyan Zhongshuge (which we learned about from Architectural Digest) looks more like a sprawling library than a bookstore. The two-story space looks massive thanks to tile floors that reflect the stacks of books and a mirrored ceiling. So yes, some illusions are at work. But still, the bookstore has a collection of over 80,000 books. That’s no small amount.

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Just find this video made by my colleague very interesting. She said many people associated the space with the magical world. I didn't check every comment in various platforms(there are literally too many) but here are some responses to a few questions that I noticed frequently raised by people. The magic feeling of the space comes from the structure of the bookshelf and the reflection of the mirror ceiling. The books on top of bookshelf are actually decoration, but all the books within the reach of readers are readable. The whole store has a collection of more than 80 thousand books in more than 20 thousand categories, which can fully meet the operation and storage needs of the bookstore.#xlivingart #bookstores #interiordesigns

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X+Living, an architecture firm based in Shanghai, designed this stunning space—as well as other impressive Zhongshuge bookstore locations. The spiral staircases and stretching shelves give the bookstore a fantastical atmosphere. It’s a little dizzying. Even knowing the shiny black tiles contribute to the illusion, I have to really look to see where actual shelves start and stop.

Bookstore arches and columns


To add to the height of the space, X+Living filled the upper shelves with a print of shelved books rather than actual books. One reason they did this was because shoppers couldn’t reach books on the highest shelf anyway. And as fanciful as they design is, X+Living strove for it to be functional. For example, each shelf has bright bars of light on the top and bottom to make the contents pop so browsing readers can easily see book titles. And while they’re not immediately visible in these photos, the bookstore has comfortable seating for visitors to sit and work or read.

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???Swipe left to see more So excited to introduce you our new project, zhongshuge bookstore located in Dujiangyan, Sichuan Province. It's a city with more than two thousand years history. Surrounded by rivers, the city has developed water projects since ancient times. So the inspiration came from the magnificent Dujiangyan dam, you can tell that by the shape of the bookshelves, they are just like a super city wall built with historical culture. By creating end scenery and using the technique of architecture, we move the magnificent spirit of mountains and rivers into the indoor space, presents readers with elegant and powerful artistic landscape, and also expresses the awe to nature. #xlivingart #interiordesigns #bookstores Location: Sichuan, China Completion time: 2020.9 Project area: 973㎡ Photographer: Shao Feng

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Dujiangyan Zhongshuge is the kind of bookstore I dream about exploring. Though the current pandemic has affected the way we spend time indoors, it won’t always be that way. We can’t wait to get lost in giant bookstores again.

Featured Image: X+Living

Amy Ratcliffe is the Managing Editor for Nerdist and the author of The Jedi Mind, available for pre-order now. Follow her on  Twitter and Instagram.

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