This is an interior remodeling project. The original building was designed by Liang Jingyu, an architect of renown in 1990s, which served as an adjunctive space to a well-known art institution back then. The floor plan of the architecture presents an asymmetric U-form, of which the south side of the space is long and narrow, the west side wider, and the south facade with French windows of a strong sense of sequence. The west side of the space is relatively upright and foursquare, to which, after repeated rentals and renovations, a second floor and an attached space had been added. The north side is shorter, a two-storeyed part serving as logistics space.

▲建筑南立面 South façade of building


The new function of the building is planned as a new-type entity bookstore, which is not only supposed to fulfill its fundamental function of book sales as a traditional bookstore, but also to meet the needs of customers for relaxation and socializing as a public space. The specific functions include library zone, cafe zone, multi-functional meeting zone, small-sized exhibition zone, VIP service zone, and logistics and office zone.

▲入口大门 Entrance gate


The complexity of the spaces and function has become difficulty of this project, yet an interesting challenge, as well. Furthermore, the proprietor also makes a request that it should display as many books, which are supposed to be the protagonist of the space, as possible, not too much “online celebrity” styled, with enough aesthetic taste, and reflecting the history of the bookstore.


The designer agrees with the proprietor‘s view of taking books as the kernel of the project. They also share the same understanding that a number of “online celebrity” bookstores nowadays have dissimilated bookstores into some kind of spatial packing of scenes, in which books, book reading and book buying have metamorphosized into a sort of background or stage property for photo shooting and card punching. Admittedly, until today, the space of a bookstore has been developing an increasingly significant function as supporting point of communication, of which, however, the extend control should determine a bookstore’s identity.

▲爆炸图 Axonometric explosion


For the purpose of maximizing books‘ display and facilitating customers’ query and purchase, in the long and narrow space of the south side, a two-storeyed structure of corridor gallery of books are added, of which both floors are fully equipped with bookshelves to guarantee a maximization of books‘ display. In the longitudinal corridor space on the 2nd floor of the structures, successive transverse lines intensify the sense of depth of the original architecture, through which the designer hopes to echo the profound and lasting image of the traditional libraries. The south facade with French windows are well preserved, becoming shop windows for the bookshelves as a scenery, which shows respect to the original architecture, while setting up a connection between the passersby and the interior space of the bookstore. On the west side of 2nd floor, the newly added book gallery corridor joins together with the old platform added by the former owner, merging 1st and 2nd floors’ spaces into a closed loop. On the south side, the staircase on the end of the book gallery corridor is intentionally colored with tripping orange hue, which catches eyes and strengthens the orientational guidance. The original interior space layout on the west side is, as well, preserved, where the added platform on 2nd floor has also been fully equipped with bookshelves for display. The shelves are attached to the walls while movable low exhibition stands are placed in the middle, for displaying recommended books and derivatives, which, with the stands removed, could be used as small-sized event and meeting space, too. In the northwest corner on 2nd floor, a small void isolated from the main space is devised as a VIP service room for book selection, which is separated from the platform on 2nd floor with glass partition, yet keeping some kind of comfortable communication. The space on the north side is remodeled into an exhibition zone on 1st floor and office zone on 2nd.


▲一楼咖啡区域和图书区 Coffee zone and books zone


The main entrance is located in the southwest corner of the building, linked to a high insightful space into the interior, which becomes the traffic hinge of the whole architecture, concatenating the book gallery corridor to the south, the library zone to the west and the middle area of the exhibition zone. The location and spatial attributes determine that this area will be the core of the whole architectural design. The designer anchors the most active and public area of the building, the cafe and relaxation zone, here. The water bar counter, workbench and cashier desk are set to the east wall, with the linking corridor of the 2nd floor overhanging as its roof. The west side of the original building is a glasshouse with excellent publicity that lets in sunlight and lets out eyesight, where chairs and sofas are put in place to create an open space that lends itself to the relaxing atmosphere, yet still relatively segmented from the reading zone, avoiding interference between the quietness and the movements.


▲吧台区域,二楼走廊的格栅体现了art deco的语言 Bar zone – Grilling of the corridor on second floor embodying

室内的风格灵感来自于20世纪中叶的ART DECO装饰风格。其原因来自书店的历史:书店由一位二战期间逃避纳粹迫害的奥地利犹太人在上海创建,之后又辗转纽约、芝加哥,最后由一位华人接手后移回北京。在设计师看来,应该用一种形式语言来诠释这个传奇的故事,而曾经在上海和纽约辉煌一时的ART DECO风格正是最合适的形式语言。几何化的,略显繁复的装饰线条,浓郁的对比色,金属材料的运用,既让人们想起那个充满爵士乐的黄金年代,又和书店最辉煌的时期完全重合。

The style of the interior design is inspired from the Art Deco aesthetics in the middle 20th century. This traces back to the history of the bookstore: It was founded by an Austrian Jew in Shanghai during his escape from the Nazi‘s persecution, which was passed through to New York and Chicago and finally taken over by a Chinese and brought back to Beijing. From the designer’s point of view, this legend should be interpreted with a sort of best fitting form language which has to be the Art Deco style that once enjoyed brilliant and glorious fame both in Shanghai and New York. The geometric and a bit complicated decorative lines, the full-bodied contrast colors and the application of metal materials remind people of the golden era permeated with jazz music, perfectly coinciding with the most flourishing time of the bookstore.

▲从二楼看吧台及上方的格栅 Bar counter and overhanging grilling viewed from second floor

▲咖啡区-西面格栅降下后,室内和室外保持一种半通透状态 Coffee zone – with grilling on the west descended, a kind of semitransparency emerging between the interior and exterior


入口大门和吧台上方二层廊道的格栅是ART DECO装饰语言运用最明显的地方。经过简化,并符合现实工艺的装饰线条成为此两处的主视觉语言,设计师希望室内空间给人一种复古感和神秘感,这也有利于书店自身形象的塑造和未来的经营。多边形复古瓷砖,鱼骨铺设方式的木地板,以及略带工业感的金属吊灯,裸露的灯泡,复古造型沙发等陈设也进一步强化了这一装饰语言和空间气氛。

The grillings on the entrance door and along the overhanging corridor over the bar counter reveal most significantly the employ of the Art-Deco-styled decorative language. The simplified and technically realistic decorative lines have become the main visual language of these two parts, through which the designer hopes to give people a retro and mysterious impression on the interior space, which has also advantages for the image-building and the future business operation of the bookstore. Polygonal vintage tiles, fishbone laid wooden floors, metal ceiling lamps in industrial style, exposed lamp bulbs and retro sofas, all these furnishings, as well, consolidate further this decorative language and the spatial aura.

▲从二楼看咖啡厅和一层图书区 Coffee zone and books zone on first floor viewed from second floor

▲一楼图书区 Books zone on first floor

▲带有构成感的楼梯 Staircase with constitution sense of design

室内色彩的灵感也来自ART DECO艺术,设计师查阅了大量的那个时期的招贴画,并从中提取与空间相符合的色彩。黑白和胡桃木色(地板和书架)占据了空间的大部分面积,是基础色调,鲜艳色彩的面积不大,但大多位于视觉焦点位置,起着空间提升的作用,如宝石蓝的吧台和瓷砖,爱马仕橙的楼梯和货梯,孔雀绿的墙面,金色的线脚等等。

The interior toning is also inspired from the Art Deco style. The designer referred to a great deal of posters of that time and picked out color tones fitting the space. Black, white and walnut color dominate most of the areas as fundamental tonality, with small-sized areas of bright colors, which are intentionally placed on focus locations, elevating the spaces, such as the sapphire bar counter and tiles, Hermes-orange staircases and cargo elevators, malachite green walls and golden skintles.

▲一楼南侧书廊 Books gallery on the south on first floor

▲南侧书廊2层,栏杆的扶手被设计成可以读书的架子 Books gallery on the south on second floor – 1, accommodation rails designed as supporting holder for temporary reading

在细节的处理上,设计强调了与人接触的地方。如南侧书廊的支柱,断面采用十字形,是对ART DECO折线语言的一种回应。又如书廊二层的栏杆扶手,没有简单的使用横杠,而设计了一个宽斜面,它可以作为阅读图书的支架,供读者短暂翻阅,或摆放挑选的图书。在咖啡厅一角,应业主要求安装了一部小型货梯,主要用于运输书籍。经过讨论,设计师提议将其暴露,并选用具有loft风格的货梯。货梯被刷成橙色,配以手动控制的升降锁链,既可以满足功能的需要,又具有视觉性和参与性。

As for the detail processing, the design underlines the parts that are in touch with human. The columns of the book gallery corridor to the south all have cross-formed fracture surfaces, which echoes the zigzag-lined language of the Art Deco style. And, for the accommodation rails of the book gallery corridor on the 2nd floor, instead of simple horizontal bars, a broad oblique plane is devised, which can be used as supporting holder for customers‘ temporary reading or placing their selected books. In a corner in the cafe, to meet the proprietor’s needs, a small cargo elevator is installed, mainly for book transportation. Through discussion, the designer suggested to expose it and choose an elevator in loft style, painted orange and equipped with manually controlled lifting chains, which not only satisfies the functional requirements, but also possesses visuality and participativeness.

▲VIP阅读区  VIP reading zone


In general, this is not a bookstore with typical online celebrity temperament. The core design concept has been serving book reading and purchasing along with its extensive usage functions. A bookstore should be a bookstore in the first line, rather than any places else. However, this doesn‘t mean mediocrity. Spatial aura and rhythmical mastering are the key points of this project. The designer hopes the customers, in an involuntary way, can read not merely books here, but also the bookstore and the space itself.

▲流线分析 1F streamline analysis 1F

▲流线分析 2F streamline analysis 2F

▲一层平面图 ground floor plan

▲二层平面图 second floor plan













Project information——

Project name: Interior Architectural Design for a Bookstore

Location: 798 Art District, Beijing

Interior design: 3andwich Design / He Wei Studio

Principle architects: Prof. Dr. He Wei, Chen Long

Design team: Song Ke, Li Wanting

Counselor: Shu-Meng, Bookstores Union

Design period: Nov. 2018 to Jan. 2019

Completion time: May 2019

Construction area: 450 sqm

Photographers: Fang Liming, He Wei