Background and site overview: Building the most characteristic late night study in southern Beijing
The project is located in Xihongmen District, Daxing District, in southern Beijing, which is an interior design project. The site is located in the southwest corner of the ground floor business area. It used to be the Xihongmen Restaurant, a branch of the Huguo Temple Snack Bar. The indoor area is about 300 square meters. The whole space is L-shaped, and the interior net storey height is limited, only 3.3 meters. About 1.5km away from the nearest subway station, it’s not very busy around the building. There’s a residential area in the north of Hongkun Shopping Center, a nursing home in the west, and a children’s skating training institution in the south. The popularity of Hongkun Shopping Center is not very prosperous. The rental situation the offices on the upper floors and the merchants on the ground floor is moderate .
▼书店主入口外观，appearance design of main entrance © 方立明
All these bring difficulties to the operation of a bookstore. Fortunately, the site itself is located at the corner of the street. The facade of the building is glass curtain wall. The sidewalks are on the West and south sides, and the southwest corner is chamfered. This gives the bookstore a superior external display surface, and also endows the interior space with a 270°-width vision area.
▼书店次入口外观，appearance design of sub-entrance© 方立明
The client of this project is a cultural company, and the owner, Ms. Li, hopes to build the bookstore into the most distinctive cultural landmark in this area, and at the same time, it should also have social responsibility to be used as a late night study to provide a community reading place for Xihongmen area.
▼夜幕下的纸艺主题墙，paper art theme wall in darkness © 方立明
General concept and spatial layout: Reading as a shelter in your backpack, and island as a way to escape from the world.
The name, Viti, taken from Viti Island, is the main island of Fiji and stands for sunrise in Fijian. Sunrise is the beginning of a brand-new day, and reading is the most wonderful time of the day. The designer hopes to create a “unique” space where readers can forget the worries and pressure outside the bookstore from the moment they enter the bookstore, and enjoy the pleasure of reading on Viti Island surrounded by books. As a late night study, a lamp in the bookstore will be reserved for those who return at night. In the dead of night, it’ll be easier for readers to put down their social identities during the day and, here, in the late night, to be themselves in tranquility.
▼功能分析图，program diagram © 三文建筑
In terms of spatial layout, different space scenes are created for different groups of people. The entrance is the leisure area, reading area is on the other side of the bar, and to the opposite direction is the children’s zone. In daily life, children’s area is connected with leisure area. When parent-child activities or courses are held in the children’s area, a huge push-pull bookshelf will be pulled aside and the children’s area becomes a relatively independent space. From the quiet of reading area, to the comfort of leisure area, and then to the jollification of children’s area, the spaces are separated into dynamic and static parts. The materials and colors of the space are also very rich. Transparent crystal glass tiles, gold-plated stainless steel metal, black-and-white floor tiles, walnut parquet flooring, double-height blue bookshelves and green wrapping paper shelves are all parts of this island of books.
▼阅读空间概览，overview of the reading space © 三文建筑
Architectural appearance: The look as the index of the heart, with a sense of modeling and cultural characteristics
The chamfered southwest section is the main entrance for pedestrians to enter the Hongkun Shopping Center area. Based on the “congenital advantages” of orientation and stream of people, the original entrance of the store was sorted out in the design, one of the south entrances was canceled, and an entrance was added in the southwest side to make the bookstore present a welcome attitude.
▼从主入口进入书店，main entrance of Viti Books © 方立明
The entrance of the building is designed with double-height blue aluminum plate, slightly protruding from the facade of the glass curtain wall, and the metal edge details outline the door head, strengthening the sense of longitudinal extension and the visual identity of the bookstore. The 36-meter dark gray folded aluminum plate, like streamers, encircles the building facade of the site, emphasizing the interface of the bookstore. The upper and lower boundaries of the streamers have metal edges, on which many famous rhesis about books and reading are welded. Under the sunshine and light, the light and shadow of these beautiful sentences are dancing on the folded plate, as if they had a musical rhythm and soul. The facade design of the whole building is endowed with strong cultural connotation on the basis of strong sense of modeling. The designer does not use too much lighting at the door, but through the way of interior light sources, everything inside the building is like a lighthouse, guiding your life voyage.
▼室内空间，金属与玻璃砖材质对比，the contrast between metal and glass brick © 方立明
Entrance area design: Virtual and real, with light and shadow refraction
First stepping into the bookstore, you will be led into the wonderland of books by the semicircle VITI BOOKS logo, inlaid with copper bars and black and white marble on the floor. Right across is a whole wall with golden bookshelves. The transparency and reflection of glass bricks on the side and top form a sharp contrast with the metal bookshelves, which complement each other at the same time. On the right side of the entrance is a bar counter made of glass bricks, which integrates coffee operation, sales, cash register and other functions. Walnut color parquet floor is used on the ground. The steady tone and the flexibility of glass brick produce a static, real and virtual contrast.
▼玻璃砖吧台，coffee counter made by glass bricks © 方立明
The golden bookshelves extend to the leisure area, and six groups of coffee seats installed along the glass curtain wall. Order a cup of coffee, lean on the velvet fabric deep blue leisure chair, holding a beloved book, shield yourself from the endless traffic stream and people coming and going in the city.
sliding bookshelf between the leisure area and children zone © 方立明
Design of reading area: A wonderland of books on a micro island
Turning right from the cashier, you will enter the book exhibition and reading area. Acrylic lamps float in the air like pages, and dark blue double-height bookshelves and green packaging paper display wall echo each other. In order to enhance the sense of disorder and richness of space in the limited floor height, platforms with different heights are set at the bottom of the two groups of high-rise bookshelves. The relatively low platform can also be used as a small stage for holding activities in the process of operation. During the trial operation period, the activity of “Little Orators” has been held. The relatively high platform makes it easier for readers to access the books on high ground. Looking back at the whole reading area, each independent desk is like a small island, and you are standing on the deck, sailing to poetry and dreamland.
▼通高书架设有不同高度的地台，full-height bookshelves with platforms in different heights © 方立明
▼亚克力灯如同书笺一般漂浮在空中，acrylic lights float in the air like pages © 方立明
the design of the platform is convenient for reaching books from higher places © 方立明
On the side of the wrapping paper display wall near the glass curtain wall is a gold paper art exhibition wall, which can be installed with 688 pieces of 10cm square paper samples of different colors. According to different festivals or events, different themes can be curated. The first curation exhibition of the bookstore is the centennial special exhibition of the Chinese Communist Party. The yellow party emblem is particularly eye-catching against the red patterns. Along the glass curtain wall, a bar table for readers to work or read is installed. The paper pattern exhibition wall is not only the background of readers, but also the show window of the bookstore’s culture.
▼葱倩绿色包装纸展柜，lush green wrapping paper showcases © 方立明
▼纸艺主题墙为背景的阅读区，paper art theme wall as the background of reading space © 方立明
Children’s reading area design: Travelling in the vast universe and the sea of books
Of course, bookstores are not only places for urban elites to stay, but also playgrounds and supply stations for children. The designers have reserved enough space for children. The theme of the children’s reading area is to explore the universe. The rocket shape seat in the bookshelf provide children a feeling of immersive space travel. The walls and ceiling are painted with starry sky paint. With the help of the optical fiber in the center of the ceiling, it turns bright and dark under the action of light and shadow, just like the twinkling stars in the universe.
▼以探索宇宙为主题的儿童区，children zone with exploring universe theme © 方立明
▼火箭座椅成为孩子专属的私密空间，the rocket seat becomes children’s private space © 方立明
Conclusion: Meeting a bookstore, experiencing a kind of warmth, and falling in love with a city
The most important value of physical bookstores is to provide services for readers and form their own culture with the local area, which needs time accumulation. In the design process, the designers focused on books, with simple and clear goals: to create a cultural landmark for the southern Beijing, a cultural and leisure place for the local people, and a comfortable and elegant reading space for the book lovers.
▼夜晚，透过窗看内部阅读空间，night view, the reading scene © 方立明
▼推拉书架，sliding bookshelf © 三文建筑
▼阅读空间剖透视，perspective section © 三文建筑
▼平面图，floor plan © 三文建筑
Project name: The Design of Viti Books Bookstore
Location: R107, Tower B, Hongkun Metromall, Hongfu Rd., Daxing District, Beijing, China
Owner: Shangfa Viti (Beijing) Culture Co., Ltd.
Principal architects: He Wei, Chen Long
Project architect: Meng Xiangting
Team: Cao Shiqing, Sang Wanchen, Zhu Yanming, Liu Yong
Construction drawings: Beijing Hongshang International Design Co., Ltd.
Interior design: 3andwich Design/He Wei Studio
Operation team: Doli Cultural Development (Beijing) Co., Ltd.
Head of operation team: Sally
Operation team: Deng Qian, An Ran, Nie Wenshuai
Construction: Henan Aide Decoration Engineering Co., Ltd
Construction area: 320sqm
Design time: Dec. 2020 – Feb. 2021
Completion time: Jun. 2021
Photographer: Fang Liming