Wutopia Lab creates multi-story bookstore in Shanghai mansion

Chinese design house Wutopia Lab has converted a multi-story house in Shanghai into a bookstore which provides “a space for learning and thinking” for city-dwelling public.

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The project – Sinan Books: Shanghai Sanctum – was commissioned by Shanghai Century Publishing Group and Yongye Group in Building 25 of the Sinan Mansion.

The design team envisioned the store “as a person with a system of acquiring knowledge while discovering oneself and the surrounding”.

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The entrance level of Building 25 is set on the second floor which features a cafe, an area for literature and the public and an “intimate Sinan living room”. On the floor above, there is an area focused on art, a peaceful Sinan music room and flexible spaces that can host exhibitions, book club events, and small concerts.

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“It’s a perfect place to experience the charm of art,” explained the Wutopia Lab design team.

On the fourth floor, a writer’s study “symbolises the bookstore’s thoughts”.

“Small cultural saloons will be held here; it’s a place for conversations and debates.”

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A basement was conceived as the bookstore’s ‘sub-consciousness’, hosting a collection of history and philosophy books. Here, a labyrinth made of bookshelves offers visitors their own space. On the west side of the labyrinth is a special selection from the London Review Books, a sister bookstore of Sinan books, while on the east side, a large study room features a central table displaying creative product design.

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Spaces underneath the building’s two staircases are used to create two reading rooms for individuals and pairs. The underused south patio was redesigned into a flower porch, using planters to create a vivid backdrop for the bookstore.

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The Wutopia Lab team says it believes a monochromatic colour scheme cannot sufficiently depict the diversity of the period.

“Colour has always been closely related to people’s feelings and emotions. Relating Sinan Books to a human body, its color should be a perceived colour, experienced in relation to the light of the day as well as one’s mental state at a given moment.”

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Sinan Books - Wutopia Lab 12The store’s entrance features a red arcade, indicating Sinan books’ attitude of openness. Different hues of green offset the exhibition spaces, while the gold of the reading room offers “a hidden surprise”.

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Sinan Books - Wutopia Lab outside

  • Images copyright Wutopia Lab.


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