An order was placed for us to build a bookstore. The premise for the design, it was required to have a small warehouse, an important space for children’s books, a certain number of islands, and the need for the existence of a system -within the same bookshelves- to exhibit the books facing forward.
Our proposal was to change the stores’ zoning paradigm, and thinking of it as a cross section instead of as a blueprint as it is usually designed. By taking advantage of a height of 5 m (16.40 ft.), we thought about distributing the warehouse space in the bookstore’s upper area. In the central area, where the eye of the beholder is, we have created a system to exhibit the books facing forward; and, in the lower area, from the 90 cm (35.43 in) downwards, the space for children. In that way, we have covered the 3 premises over the whole bookstore.
The space for children was painted with different shades of yellow, with the more intense color at the front and the lighter color at the back, achieving a path and an easy way for the children to identify their space.
Regarding the style used to make the bookshelves, the idea was to deconstruct the space by using cubes with different sizes that could be combined, generating different exposure scenarios. We thought of a structure made of pipes and wood since it had to be a tough structure able to resist the 4.50 m (17.76 ft.) of height and the whole weight of the books. This is why 40x40 (16x16) pipes were used, forming macro squares that contain 30x30x30 (12x12x12), 30x30x60 (12x12x24), 30x30x90 (12x12x36), 60x30x60 (24x12x24), and 90x30x90 (36x12x36) phenolic wooden cubes, the latter one with a cover. The measurement for guidance to make the spacing was that of 30 (12).
In this project, we have worked on the concept together with the graphic designer. The basic elements of books are letters and characters; thus, characters and texts with different fonts were used at the bookstore. In order to reinforce this idea and to produce a space where people can feel a sense of belonging and attraction, we have recreated a large scale typewriter as a kind of grandstand where people can sit and enjoy their reading.
In the cash register area, black was used to highlight the back of the store since it is a strong exposure space if we talk about impulse buying, as well as the cash register counter, which has exposure spaces for the same purpose.
The store, which at night is closed with a curtain, is almost open towards the shopping. What we wanted to achieve was the idea that the store be part of the walk people make by walking throughout the aisles, and that, somehow, they come across the bookstore without any obstacle -such as a door- that stop people from getting in just to visit it. A little space was left to be the window shop in order to hide the cash register area and communicate the latest launchings, and to finish the bookstore’s gesture.
The original shopping ceiling was left and painted black but, with the lighting, a virtual ceiling was created with 24 ranch-style-house lamps painted black in their lower part and yellow in their upper part.
The floor came into being with phenolic squares that create a weave similar to the macro squares of the bookshelves.
Signage was made with the same materials used in the bookshelves and islands, and it was hanged with three-dimensional letters so as to be part of the context. Children were also taken into account; a more child-like-font sign with yellow letters was hanged at their height.
As a conclusion, the aim was to achieve, with only one strong gesture -that one of a bookshelf of 4.50 m (17.76 ft.) of height that contemplates the whole program and surrounds the entire store including the window shop-, an impact and a need to visit the store.
After all, what matters most in commercial architecture is to make people want to get in the store.