In a quiet provincial town in southern China, the renovation of existing buildings for a bookstore is more than just a makeover project: it’s a work of real cultural significance. In the Huangyan district of Taizhou, Shanghai-based studio Wutopia Lab stitched together disused buildings on the banks of the Yongning River. The result, the Duoyun Bookstore.
The project is inspired by a sensory approach to the context: the relaxing flow of the river, along which the city comes alive with pleasant daily walks, the breeze and the pleasure it brings by carrying away the diffuse water droplets, led the architects of the Wutopia Lab studio to raise a cloud that would symbolize a world, that of culture, where it is good to snuggle up, leaving everything else behind. An element that gently stretches across the river in a horizontal movement contrasting with the verticality of the surrounding buildings. The existing buildings on the site are entirely covered with curtain walls made of white prefabricated perforated aluminum panels, revealing the traces of the past and unifying the disjointed volumes. The plan imitates the traditional “shuyan” typology: the buildings are articulated around the inner courtyard constituting the entrance to the Duoyun bookstore and the fulcrum of the composition, a sort of courtyard surrounded by volumes. On the first floor, there is a reading corner, a café-restaurant and administrative areas. On the upper floor, an exhibition space, a room full of reproductions of rare books, another for reading and terraces for interaction and children’s games. The bright colors of the interiors mark the functional areas: the orange color extracted from Huangyan’s most famous orange in the cafeteria; the classic green of Duoyun’s libraries in the cultural and creative zone; cyan in the one dedicated to Taizhou; crimson in the relationship space; pink and purple in the exhibition gallery. A place where one discovers not only books, but also and above all the magic of an artistic language that builds an identity where indifference reigned and gives a decipherable form to the character of the work and, consequently, of the whole city.