Architecture, News I 13.06.19 I by

Is this the world’s most surreal book shop?

There are no musty stacks to be found at the new Chongqing Zhongshuge bookshop in the Chinese city of Chongqing.

Tasked with creating a must-visit destination for book lovers typically bewitched by the ease of online shopping, Shanghai-based firm X+Living created an intricate and surreal design that reimagines traditional library ladders as a tangle of MC Escher-style staircases leading up to a mirrored ceiling.

Chongqing Zhongshuge bookshop in the Chinese city of Chongqing.
Photography: Feng Shao

‘The clients asked me and my team to create a bookstore that was also a landmark,’ Li Xiang, the president of X+Living and the chief designer of the project, told Architectural Digest. ‘The glass ceiling enlarges the space, while creating something that appears more magical than it does real.’

The book store extends over 1300 sqm and includes two floors of ‘boutique reading areas’ filled with booths formed by lampshade shaped bookshelves, a colourful kids area decorated with local landscapes, and a coffee area where visitors can rest and refresh while reading.

Chongqing Zhongshuge bookshop in the Chinese city of Chongqing.
Photography: Feng Shao
Chongqing Zhongshuge bookshop in the Chinese city of Chongqing.
Photography: Feng Shao
Chongqing Zhongshuge bookshop in the Chinese city of Chongqing.
Photography: Feng Shao

Read next: The ‘world’s largest book’ store has opened in Tehran

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