Atelier tao+c has designed a bookstore to provide a traditional reading experience for Common Reader, of which the name originated from the book [The Common Reader] by Virginia Woolf. The designer and the owner reached a common understanding that the bookstore should not only be a storage room for books but also a place for collecting social memories, experience, and for knowledge absorbing.
Atelier tao+c seized the opportunity to probe into human’s reading behaviors, as that our interior design for the bookstore aims to curate the immersed experience for readers to re-concentrate. The strategy was to omit unnecessary elements, by enhancing the expressions of bookshelves, display tables, seats, reading lights, and curtains. To strengthen the undefined ambiance, which encourages readers to wander within, to sit down and write, the dark-tone woods lined with bright green were introduced to evoke people’s memories of the old-time libraries.
The L-shaped site has been a break down into two rectangular rooms, relatively isolated yet with a similar floor area. The first hints of the interior are suggested to the individual by the circulation of the bookshelves, dividing the frontage room into two different spaces, each with a distinctive ambiance. Here the carefully placed seats were employed to present more possibilities of staying within the store.
The dark green curtains that hanging around the frontage room have blurred the boundaries of the walls, enclosing an introverted public space, open and transparent. The cherry wood seats form a continuous horizontal interface, and all the loose bookshelves hovering above are at a suitable level to showcase all the books within people’s reach. The gap between several groups of bookshelves is used for a few sunken seats when the customer can sit on one side and start to read a favorite book. This area is mainly for displaying art books and the seats designed within an active time zone to resonate with ordinary readers.
The seven display tables in the hall, equipped with customized glass bookshelves and magazine shelves are parted according to the size of specific books to deliver a sense of sequence and abundance. The horizontal array of exhibition stands, the vertical green metal columns, juxtaposed with arched tent boards are designed to generate the corridor, which enhances the depth of the interior spatially and reminds people of the old-time reading rooms in one’s memory.
Exploring deeper into the bookstore through a door, detailed in green stones, one enters the more-private reading room. A set of bespoke double-sided shelves presents the store with ample layers and display spaces. The distance of the bookshelves, the dimension of the walkway have been deliberately compressed, endowing the space with precisely controlled visual density and a more intimate spatial framework. A four-sides enclosed hole was embedded at the end of each bookshelf, which functions as a single desk within a relatively private reading space. The associated seat is rather isolated, conveying a sense of security in public space. While a coffee bar was set up on the other side, the banquettes here features high wooden back and inserting partition boards. Readers can read and enjoy a cup of coffee in tranquility, without interfering with people sitting. The space between the bookshelves conceptualized as a tiny “island”, the solitary display bookshelves, or the wooden carts here are illuminated by the green glass lamp.
Every bookshelf, seat, and lamp in the Common Reader Bookstore are designed for specific books or human reading behaviors. The unconventional oblique angles on the bookshelves cater to our gesture of grasping and putting down books; different seat designs provide a variety of ways to sit down and read. In the light of the arrangements of the bookshelves, together with the relationship applied in the seats, a place advocating the renaissance of daily reading and poetry is quietly growing in the metropolis.