Behind the page
The Eslite Suzhou was designed revolving the concept of being an aesthetic living gallery, with the bookstore as a core idea. With its combination of natural, modern, and Eastern tranquility and reservation, it is a minimalistic space that showcases order, class, quality, and detail. Extracting the charm from the park and the essence of Suzhou, the bookstore’s main hall and long shelves are embodiments of Suzhou’s cultural flavor, transforming from simple shelves into a bamboo grove or doors and windows along an old alleyway. The reflective copper ceiling is inspired by the delicate light reflecting off of the lake, bringing in some of the classic light and water aesthetics. The simple design yet large scale create a space that stays with you, using symmetry to emphasize a sense of steadiness and reservation. Each section of the bookstore makes use of the same design elements, all interplaying with different aspects.
UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
The quarter-century-old Eslite bookstores have earned a reputation as being one of Taiwan’s most modern cultural treasures. Our design idea for the bookstore was to create a simple concept to present a natural, tranquil reading space with minimal elements, similar to literature, the design of the bookstore’s space has been sectioned into and chapters, and paragraphs. The lines of motion in space were planned in regard to this idea, with nooks for reading and exchange planned according to each section of these rich, densely packed book displays. The main hall lies at the center of the store, with an emphasis on communicating a sense of knowledge and class. It is the central space for bringing together exchange of ideas. To the left sits the Art section, using a combination of classic and contemporary design language to capture a deep sense of an artistic substance. To the right, the Literature section, where what first leaps out is the modern oriental elements in this space that combines the written word with tea culture, symbolizing a dialogue between the East and West. Behind the main hall is the towering and lengthy Variety section with the soaring shelves designed to extend vision and draw in gentle light, making the section feel like a tranquil alley way during a crisp morning. Among the lit-up shelves, people wander, pause to think, and sit engrossed in books. Lastly the Music Cafe, sitting perpendicular to the Variety section is where coffee and culture meet as people enjoy the music and pore over books by full-height windows. Every detail of the design and layout is the product of careful consideration.
OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
Extending and transforming the lattice elements, through design methods including lines, sheets, and checks, we find the most precise proportions, the most suitable locations, and maximize their usage. Large cutout spaces in the metallic dividers serve as points of interruption, clarifying lines of motion and providing a better experience of reading while wandering. Using the varying heights of bookshelves and floors, we produce a visual sense of continuity and layering in the space to guide those wandering and circulating. Effective use of modularity and the architectural circumstances formed the foundation of the interior design. The sunken floor brings in the outside, with light spilling in. The interplay of light and shadow evolving as time passes, with the space minimally adorned, users are given a sense of purity. The art and literature sections look cubically across at each other, while the main hall serves as the central focus. Each part complements the others. A spatial aesthetic that interprets the imagery of Suzhou from different perspectives, this bookstore showcases the many faces of contemporary aesthetics.
PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
The project started in July 2012 and finished in November 2015, and is located in Suzhou, China
FITS BEST INTO CATEGORY:
Interior Space and Exhibition Design
PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
wood, metal, stone, millstone, copper, mirror, fabric
SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
3,120 square meters (Hall/Variety/Art/Literature/Music)
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The first Eslite Bookstore in China was designed in hope to create a new landmark in urban culture. Reading can create a sense of cultural freedom, openness, diversity, and exchange. These are fundamental to the spirit of such a place. Using a flowing, poetic spatial vocabulary, books are the subject: the written word the content. Space is a vessel, giving the bookstore a sense of profundity and reservation in an attempt to let the power of the written word speak for itself. Combining urban imagery, cultural creativity and literate friendship, we have strived to create a space that is simple and modern, while also incorporating a feeling of classical elegance.
The challenge was to carry forward a showcase of innovation to mold a space that captured the essence of reading a vessel for language that embodies the imagery of Suzhou. The bookstore needed to be customized to create a space of distinctive dimensions, with a design focused on simplicity and maximizing the effect of minimal elements. The lines of motion are clear and layered, a core aspect of the planning, with the space engaging in a dialog of modularity as it extends the elements of its environment through the points, lines, and planes of the space to the bookshelves and windows. With this rigorous design, form and function meet while the original flavor of the site is preserved in an innovative way.
TEAM MEMBERS (5) :
Chris Teng, Portia Hu, Kelly Du, Tina Yu and Vicky Lee
Mandartech Interiors Inc