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In the hills of Los Angeles, two designers inhabit a modern bohemia.

There can be something magical about stepping into a bookstore where the shelves are lined with stories from people across the globe. And that's precisely the sentiment Shanghai-based architecture firm x+living used to create their latest modern bookstore store in the thousand-year-old Chinese city of Chengdu.

"Suddenly in Wonderland," the team described the project that aims to inject a modern "paradise" into the historical and cultural city. To do that, they mirrored the ceilings and added soaring arc-shaped bookshelves throughout to create a whimsical vibe anchored by the literary masterpieces that fill the space.

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To enhance this sense of wonder even more, the firm made the entrance a glass curtain to signal an entry into a world you've never explored before. Walking through the aisles lined with huge bookshelves feels as if you've traveled to another world, and yet time is slowing down. Those shelves are also situated in a way that both attract your eye while also hiding other store areas to pique that interest in continual exploration.

"Is there a magical space when approaching," the team wrote. "I am deeply attracted and want to find out."

One of those hidden spots is the children's reading area, which suddenly appears to appear between the towering columns. To make this space welcoming to the youngest of readers, the team decorated the space with panda imagery and colorful cushions to be used for relaxing and building. Again, it aims to be a space that inspires and opens possibilities.

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To highlight the magical feel, even more reflective black tiles were used as flooring to make the book tables appear as if they're floating. It's almost like a space-age Hogwarts.

Ultimately, the team aims to inspire book lovers. "Whether you are reading or staying," they wrote. "You can appreciate the unique spiritual core of Zhongshuge: to give all readers a very ornamental space, to generate ideas and create value."


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