The newly-opened Xinhua Bookstore branch in Shanghai was designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando, who is known for his use of light and shadow. Named as “Light Space”, the bookstore hopes to prove a bright idea to lure readers into bookstores.
Ando, 77, winner of the 1995 Pritzker Prize, often called the "Nobel of architecture", employs his other signature style elements in Light Space, including the use of raw concrete and egg-shaped structures.
Another concept is the theme of "encounter", which is demonstrated by the bookshelves, which are hollowed out in the center so readers see one another through them.
Light Space is one of over 20 large bookstores that opened in Shanghai in 2017. Big cities such as Beijing, Nanjing, Shenyang and Hefei also are seeing more bookstores open.
Their recent development is partly thanks to national and local government measures introduced in June 2016, including subsidies, tax breaks and expedited business permits. And the Ministry of Finance has provided 670 million yuan in bonuses to bookstores during the past five years.
Brick-and-mortar bookstores are developing value-added experiences as they compete with online sellers, especially in the past two years. As books were the first items that hit the world of online shopping, bookstores in China went through a painful decline in the past decade. Now they are fighting back.
Light Space is one of those bookstores that put focus on design, while many stores also sell creative and cultural products associated with a literary lifestyle, such as stationery, tea sets and coffee. Some stores also offer dining, exhibitions and kids' activities while also selling clothes and handicrafts. Customers are attracted to take photos and selfies, other than simply browsing the shelves.
In addition to reading and buying books, many readers visit bookstores to kill time, look around, attend book lectures and signings, have drinks and snacks, or have a small chat. Bookstores are gradually becoming a gathering place for different minds, as well as a home to the literary lifestyle.
lure: v. 吸引；引诱
hollow: v. 凿空；挖空
expedite: v. 加快进展