Huge V-shaped "light cone" intersects Wuhan bookstore

Our world today is defined by precise timers and everyone is always anxious about unavoidably moving to the end. We wanted to create a slower view of time in the world of the bookstore to soothe this anxiety.
– Wutopia Lab

A bookstore in Wuhan, China, has reopened after a two-year design and renovation project by Wutopia Lab that has seen a huge "light cone" inserted into the building, drawing natural light from the roof down to all floors.

The 10,000sq m (107,600sq ft) Hubei Foreign Language Bookstore was established 40 years ago and has undergone a number of alterations and renovations over the years.

Wutopia Lab were keen to re-establish it as a cultural icon in Wuhan and used the simplified mountain shape of a triangle to do this – mountains being a metaphorical tool for expressing the notion that there is more beyond what is in one's immediate vision.

The glazed V-shaped light cone is the signature element of the concept. At the centre of the building and spanning seven floors, it "allows the changes in weather and time to permeate all corners of the bookstore" and symbolises that there is more beyond the bookstore – be it beyond its walls or within its books.

The light cone is surrounded by the rest of the store's amenities, which include an urban art living room, a 24-hour study room, a children's library, reading rooms and a display of rate books of the roof.

There are also food and drink outlets, a cultural and creative area, a living technology area, a picture book museum, a training centre a miniature art gallery and exhibition spaces.

And there are planting areas of different sizes on each floor to give a sense of wellbeing and vitality within the space.

The mountain iconography is drawn through into the building's perforated aluminium façade, with layers of green hills visually depicting the "mountains beyond mountains" concept on which the whole design is based.

"Our world today is defined by precise timers and everyone is always anxious about unavoidably moving to the end," explained Wutopia Lab. "We wanted to create a slower view of time in the world of the bookstore to soothe this anxiety."

Wuhan  China  bookstore 
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