The Fangsuo Bookstore evokes ancient knowledge, spirituality and tranquility in its breath-taking architecture.
Libraries imbibed a sense of stored knowledge in Chinese history and tradition, and were usually located in, around or beneath Buddhist temples. Retaining in its architecture this sense of ancestry, respect for knowledge and a kind of mysticism associated with secret scriptures and hidden wisdom is Fangsuo Bookstore designed by Chu Chih-Kang Space Design.
The architects intended to construct a modernised version of the sutra depository, which is known to be a place in ancient China to store all kinds of knowledge including sutras, books, letters, etc.
The bookstore was patterned along these ancient libraries, and the theme of mysticism very palpably runs along Fangsuo Bookstore.
Raw materials and techniques utilised to give off such an effect include installing concrete columns with large cutting surfaces, bookcases kept in a loft, ramps across the bookcases, etc.
The bookstore is also rife with astral imagery and imagery of the cosmos. Planetary diagrams and constellations also feature in this space. The entrance in itself is an impressive, sculptural rendition of a meteor.
Located in Chengdu, Sichuan, Fangsuo Bookstore also provides a place of refuge amid mounds of dusty books. It seeks to become a place to unwind and relax, which again echoes back to history to the concept of ‘nesting’. Nesting refers to the need of the Sichuan people to find a place for refreshments between activities.
Heeding this requirement, the architects have created several resting areas, where people can nest and peacefully enjoy the activity of reading.
The bookstore truly embodies history, culture, knowledge and tradition, and seems to be embracing the past, present and future in the mystic atmosphere it creates.
Text By Tasneem S. Pocketwala