Located in Hangzhou Xiangshan Art Commune, this project is comprised of X-Art Bookshop and a workshop, both of which are on the ground floor of two buildings and connected by surrounding passageways. The client, Parallel Institute, is a culture complex that also runs a design pavilion, an art gallery and “Cheer Café”.
When we received the commission, the basic interior constructions (including air conditioning, lighting, flooring, etc.) had been completed, but the spaces were still vacant. The client decided that X-Art Bookshop should differ from traditional bookshops, with a space that is display-oriented and variable. They expected a new place with multi-functions: for display and retail of art books and artworks; for seminars and activities such as handcraft courses.
The original concept of this design is the image of “paper”, which evolved into the approach of “origami”. Since ancient times, paper has been a symbol of knowledge as well as an important means of communication; while nowadays, paper is being used in many art books as an essential element. We intend to project abstract concepts of “knowledge” and “art” into concrete forms of “paper”. The approach of “origami” is applied in the design of bookshop front, bookshelves, wall-installations and the cashier’s counter, all of which have their own individual characteristics but under a unified design concept.
In addition, we have actively experimented with combinations of avant-garde materials in the design, using SOP modulars that not only ensure the project completed within limited construction period, but also could be easily operated to meet the needs for future spatial expansion.
A series of outdoor signs are placed along the path that leads from the main entrance of the bookshop along the east passageway – the so called “grey space” – to the workshop. The eye-catching bookshop front, made of silver-plated Tyvek and galvanized steel pipes, creates a futuristic look while still conveys a traditional image of “book scrolls”. The other outdoor signs are designed with the similar approach of the bookshop front, with Tyvek material on them shaping the form of “arrows” that pointing in the direction of the bookshop or the workshop, when viewed from different angles. The east passageway is also designed with places to hang posters, serving for the promotion of Parallel Institute.
There was a 0.75m height difference in the bookshop. To better integrate the space, we have designed a wooden platform to fill in most part of the original “lower space” – only the “lower” entrance was retained. The platform, above which the cashier’s counter is placed, contains two large drawers for storage.
The bookshelves are the protagonists of X-Art Bookshop. They have a light, avant-garde appearance with handcrafted marks; meanwhile, they could offer multi and variable functions. The shelves are made of galvanized steel pipes as main structure, and PC sheets covered by white Tyvek and sealed by U-shaped acrylic strips and aluminum angles. With a light and slightly translucent look, they can be manually operated to be displayed in the tilted or the flattened position. Standing along three walls with floor-to-ceiling glass windows in the bookshop, the variable bookshelves create a spatial interface that can be both relatively enclosed and permeable.
Those wall-installations, again, made of galvanized steel pipes and silver-plated Tyvek, create a special atmosphere while also serve as hanging places for posters. The project also includes a range of custom-made furniture (such as paper-counters, paper-benches and stools, trolleys and desks, etc.) designed with materials as honeycomb cardboards, birch plywood, aluminum profiles, all of which appear in a perfect harmony with Tyvek and galvanized steel pipes. In order to meet the needs of different scenarios, the workshop desk is specifically designed with a trapezoidal desk top, which could allow free combinations of curved and straight, concentrated and dispersed spatial forms.
In the whole project, with only one exception of the wooden platform in X-Art Bookshop, all other furniture such as bookshelves, wooden cabinets, wall-installations, desks, benches and stools can be moved directly or removed by simple dismantling. The design has fully ensured the possibility of multi-functional and variable spaces in the future.