Part bookstore, part library; the magical world of literature has been brought to life in a unique setting in a shopping mall in central China. Some say that the written word is dying but the optimists among us will continue to believe that it will long outlive technology’s advances. In response to the saturated market of online shopping, architecture and design studio X-Living has realised an enticing bookstore, rich with creativity and atmosphere, that promotes the activity of reading.

The store comprises a variety of environments – something to suit users of all ages – like a combination of fantasy film sets, each more lavish and fanciful than the last. Shelves of different colours, shapes and sizes define each area’s key characteristic, from 5-m-high red-brick walls and curved units inspired by bamboo, to giant mushrooms and adorable pandas for the children (and – let’s be honest – adults too). The smell of new pages, a comfortable chair and even a hall for lectures are all part of the experience.

Zhongshuge Chengdu actively encourages shoppers to take a break, enjoy a cup of tea and peruse the latest titles without traumatising customers who want to read, rather than make an immediate purchase. The store opened in May this year, occupying a vacant 1000-sq-m space on the fourth floor of the Yintai Center shopping mall.

This is not the first project that X-Living has completed for the book company – nor is it likely to be the last – and the collaboration’s signature style of ceilings surfaced with mirrored glass is utilised throughout, contributing to the warped reality of the interior and creating a destination for the written word that cannot be experienced from behind a computer screen.


1. Bamboo Reading Area / 2. Leisure Reading Hall / 3. Lecture Hall / 4. Children's Library
Location Jinhui E Street, Chengdu, China