Xi’an, China – Designers are reframing bookstores and libraries as luxury retail spaces that far surpass ‘bookish’ aesthetics. As modern communication evolves with modern technologies, this is a must for literary cultural centres to keep people investing in paper and ink over screens – something Chinese designers in particular are actively helping set in motion. E Pang Bookstore, a sprawling space in Xi’an’s core development area by Gonverge Interior Design, is one project aimed at hitting that target.
Named for the neighbouring Epang Palace, the 3,500-sq-m bookstore-cum-library is unique in that it offers visitors social and intellectual venture as well as a spatial experience, thanks to its well-defined visual identity. Gonverge Interior Design conceived the space to ‘fill in a blank,’ according to a spokesperson – before its completion, there was no large-scale reading space within 5 km. To further ensure the centre’s success, the design team was briefed to build attractive areas for alternate forms of commerce, like food and drink.