Multidisciplinary studio JATO Design turns an ordinary bookstore into a modern haven for book lovers at Shenyang Jiuwu Cultural City, China
For the Shenyang Jiuwu Cultural City renovation project in 2015, JATO Design was tasked with transforming a traditional bookstore into a dynamic, multi-use space – to be not only a shopping mall but also a cultural hub for book-inspired events and more. The book mall known as Shenyang Jiuwu Cultural City covers 15,000sqm (160,000sqf) and took about two years to complete. The project was completed in 2017, and earned the studio many accolades, among them Bronze at the International Design Awards 2016.
The result is a visually stimulating four-level haven for book lovers, set in a interior rich in timber tones and book-inspired references. The design team wanted to create a space that emulated the experience of enjoying a good book while relaxing under a tree.Highlights include a 24-hour cafe area that features an angular, geometric book shelving system, as well as a ceiling inspired by the countless pages of a book. Also in the space are smaller individual bookshelves where books rest in a tilted position due to the furniture's angular design – features that add to the venue's visually stimulating experience.
The centrepiece is the 'hero' space where visitors move to a lighter-toned timber-outfitted environment enhanced with dramatic designs. Lantern-like cocoons hang from the ceiling while stairways serve as communal spaces that encourage visitors to linger and read while sitting on the steps; it can also be transformed into a space for book-oriented events for large groups. More conventional table and- chair seating arrangements are available at the premises' cafe. Elsewhere, a vibrantly coloured children's book area creates an atmosphere of fun.
The centrepiece of the bookstore has lantern-like cocoons and stairways that serve as communal spaces
JATO Design is a five-year-old practice that takes an inventive and progressive approach to its projects. Besides interior design, it specialises in master planning, architecture, graphic design and more, across a broad range of projects including mixed-used, retail, commercial and office spaces.