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A bookstore in Beijing features book tunnels that lead to cozy reading nooks and a café

INSIDER logoINSIDER 7/16/2020 mhumphries@businessinsider.com (Monica Humphries)
a close up of a library: The bookstore tunnels lead to cultural spaces and a café. Wu Qingshan/X+Living © Provided by INSIDER The bookstore tunnels lead to cultural spaces and a café. Wu Qingshan/X+Living
  • The newly opened Zhongshuge bookstore in Beijing features creative rooms and book tunnels.
  • Visitors can walk through the bookstore's tunnels and discover cozy nooks for reading, creative spaces for studying, and a café. 
  • The store's design was inspired by traditional Chinese gardens, bamboo forests, and famous Chinese artwork. 
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

A new bookstore in Beijing is straight from a bibliophile's dreams. From floor to ceiling, the store is filled with colorful titles and features tunnels of books for visitors to explore. 

The Zhongshuge bookstore is tucked inside the Lafayette department store in Beijing, China. With its use of mirrors, curved walkways, and different textures, people are encouraged to enter the store and wander. 

a chair sitting in front of a building: The designers used mirrors to play with perspective. Wu Qingshan/X+Living © Wu Qingshan/X+Living The designers used mirrors to play with perspective. Wu Qingshan/X+Living

The X+Living architecture firm is behind the design and drew its inspiration from traditional Chinese gardens. The goal was to create a "dialogue between new and old," so visitors will "experience a terrific journey like a dream," the firm said in a statement shared with Insider.

The tunnels mimic moon gates, which are circular openings often built in these classic Chinese gardens. 

Beyond being able to walk through the tunnels, visitors will find reading nooks tucked into each one


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The tunnels lead to different rooms in the bookstore, like a cultural space, a children's library, and a café. 

a table in a library: The café mimics the gathering in a famous Chinese painting. Wu Qingshan/X+Living © Wu Qingshan/X+Living The café mimics the gathering in a famous Chinese painting. Wu Qingshan/X+Living

The café's design mimics the gathering in the famous Chinese painting "Qu Shui Liu Shang." The creative and cultural room was inspired by bamboo forests. 

"All of the bookstores that we designed are inspired by local culture. The classical gardens and the reading space collided from three different perspectives, I think that's what makes it different from traditional bookstores," a representative of X+Living, the architecture firm behind the project, told Lonely Planet. "We connect various functional areas with different formats of space layout. Visitors will get more interested and more curious in spaces like this and feel more connected." 

a room with a wooden fence: This room was inspired by bamboo forests. Wu Qingshan/X+Living © Wu Qingshan/X+Living This room was inspired by bamboo forests. Wu Qingshan/X+Living

This isn't the world's first book tunnel

The Last Bookstore, located in Los Angeles, California, features a book tunnel for visitors to walk through. Perhaps the most popular one can be found in the Municipal Library of Prague, where mirrors are used to create an optical illusion of a never-ending book tunnel. 

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