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Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

China Architecture News - Aug 21, 2017 - 13:08   11555 views

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

Shanghai-based architecture practice Wutopia Lab has completed a new bookstore in Suzhou, China, which feature a mix of colourful undulating panels to highlight different zones inside. Led by Yu Ting, the principal of Wutopia Lab, the Zhongshu Bookstore creates "a metal rainbow" effect in the interior of the bookstore by adapting its form to different zones of the bookstore. The Zhongshu Bookstore is considered as the newest one of its brand since the first opened five years ago.

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

The Sanctuary of Crystal zone. Image © CreatAR 

The new bookstore, occupying a total of 1380-square-metre space, is divided into four main zones and several subdivided zones. The project aims to create a colorful new world by using symbolism, the architect gave a unique character to each zone: the Sanctuary of Crystal for new arrivals, the Cave of Fireflies for recommendations, the Xanadu of Rainbows for reading room and the Castle of Innocence for children books.

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

The Sanctuary of Crystal zone. Image © Hu Yijie

In the entrance, visitors see 'the Sanctuary of Crystal' zone, a space full of books and nothing else. The latest arrivals are arranged on the pre-fabricated transparent acrylic shelves, outstanding the presence of the books. The architects use glass bricks, mirrors and acrylic, 'the Sanctuary of Crystal' is a shining white space, luring customers into the heart of the store.

After the whiteness, another zone welcomes visitors and they see 'the Cave of Fireflies', a darker tunnel connects the main hall and the entrance. Customers are able to pick their books here and follow the guide of optic fibers into the main reading area. 

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

The Cave of Fireflies zone. Image © Hu Yijie 

After a relatively narrow space, 'the Xanadu of Rainbows' is designed as a large and open space and the space can pour natural light thanks to the large windows inside. Being the most prominent space, 'the Xanadu of Rainbows' provides a variety of experience. Taking advantages of different heights of shelves, steps, and tables, the architect creates a hyper architecturized and abstracted landscape of cliffs, valleys, islands, rapids, and oases. 

There are also thin perforated aluminum sheets in gradient colors simulated as rainbows installed in the bookstore. These 1cm thin panels divides zones of different functions at the same time bringing a mysterious and vague atmosphere to the space. 

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

The Cave of Fireflies zone. Image © Hu Yijie 

"These moves shape a Xanadu from ancient Chinese philosophy," said Yu Ting. 

At the very end of ‘the Xanadu of Rainbows’, the space surrounded by white ETFE walls is the children books area. With the help of translucent ETFE, the Castle of Innocence is an inner world inside the bookstore. Many complex installments are added in the space, building a world where children can interact with each other and with the bookstore itself.

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

Cafe area within the bookstore. Image © Hu Yijie 

The perforated aluminum sheets shaped of windows play a huge part in the project. When half of the sheets were perforated, they lost the visual quality of shining metals. When multiple panels of different sizes and colors were fixed together, a sense of veil is created. 

"This ambiguous and vague effects gave qualities to the bookstore. The distance between each set of panels is also of great importance. Some gaps between the panels are larger than others, thus creating spaces of different experiences," added the architect.

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

Cafe area within the bookstore. Image © CreatAR  

The boundaries between each individual space is weakened by using almost translucent quality of the panels. With the use of lights, the colorful sheets can also be seen from outside, making the bookstore an inviting destination.

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

Cafe area within the bookstore. Image © CreatAR

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

Main hall. Image © CreatAR

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

Main hall detail. Image © CreatAR

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

Main hall - the book area. Image © Hu Yijie

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

Main hall - the book/reading area. Image © Hu Yijie

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

Main hall. Image © CreatAR

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

Main hall. Image © CreatAR

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

Main hall. Image © Hu Yijie

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

Main hall. Image © Hu Yijie

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

Main hall. Image © Hu Yijie

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

Main hall detail. Image © Hu Yijie

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

Main hall. Image © Hu Yijie

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

Main hall. Image © Hu Yijie

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

Main hall. Image © CreatAR

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

Main hall. Image © CreatAR

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

Children's zone. Image © CreatAR

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

Children's zone. Image © Hu Yijie

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

Children's zone. Image © Hu Yijie

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

Camping area. Image © CreatAR 

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

Plan of the bookstore

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

Street section

Wutopia Lab completes Zhongshu Bookstore in China with undulating metal panels

Axonometric drawing

Wutopia Lab recently completed the Eight Tenths Garden within a historic garden of Shanghai - a micro-cultural complex houses an exclusive collection of enamels and the building includes some additional functions such as coffee shop, a library, offices, bed and breakfasts, as well as a restaurant, study rooms and chess rooms.

Project facts

Architects: Wutopia Lab

Design Consultant: ArchUnits

Chief Architect: YU Ting

Project Architect: Shuojiong ZHANG

Lighting Design: Gradient Lighting

Location: Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China

Area: 1380 m2

Project Year: 2016-2017

Material: Perforated aluminum, stainless steel, glass brick, ETFE, ceramic tile,

All images © Hu Yijie, CreatAR (AI Qing, MAO Yingchen, SHI Kaichen)

Top image © CreatAR 

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