Take the inspiration from Virginia Woolf's book of the same name, Atelier tao+c has designed an independent bookstore - Common Reader that aims to recall the traditional experience of reading. The designer and the owner reached a common understanding that the bookstore should not only be a storage room for books, but also should be a place for people to involving in, collecting social memories and absorbing knowledge.
Atelier tao+c seized the opportunity to probe into reading behaviors, the interior of the bookstore provide an immersed experience for readers to concentrate on reading. Reducing unnecessary objects, except for bookshelves, display tables, seats and reading lights, there are no other elements standing in the room. The dark-tone woods lined with bright green were introduced to evoke people’s memories of the old libraries, strengthen the clam ambiance that encourages readers to stay in, to read and write.
The L-shaped site was break down into two rectangular rooms, relatively isolated yet with similar areas. The layout was arranged by the direction of the bookshelves, its circulation divided the rooms into two spaces with different atmosphere. In the room near the street, dark green curtains are hanging around the perimeter, creating a soft boundary and enclosing an introverted public atrium which is open and flexible. The wooden seats formed a continuous horizontal surface, and all the bookshelves place on it like loose furniture. Those bookshelves are hovering above at a suitable height to ensure that every book is accessible. The gaps between the sets of bookshelves formed a few deep seats so that people can sit aside and start reading when they browse their favorite books. Seven display tables in the center of the atrium equipped with customized glass bookshelves and magazine shelves, the surface of which were divided according to the size of books. The horizontal array of tables and the vertical green metal columns juxtaposed with arched tent boards, formed the spatial sequence which enhances the feeling of depth also reminds people of the old-time reading room.
A green stone doorway connects to the deeper room, inviting readers to explore the private library ambiance inside the bookstore. The double-sided shelves formed multiple layers in the space. The distance of the bookshelves, the scale of the walkway have been deliberately compressed, construct an intimate spatial atmosphere. A four-sides enclosed opening was embedded at the end of each bookshelf, which functions as a single desk within a relatively private reading space. Here the seat is rather isolated, conveying a security feeling that exclusive to being alone in a public space. While a cafe set up on the other side, the banquettes here features high wooden back and inserting partition boards where readers can read and enjoy a cup of coffee tranquility without interfering with the neighbors. The solitary display tables or the wooden carts in the aisle are illuminated by the customized green glass lamp.
Every bookshelf, seat, and lamp in the Common Reader Bookstore are specifically designed for each book and conform to human’s reading behaviors. The unconventional oblique angles on the bookshelves cater to the readers’ gesture of grasping and placing books; The different seats pander to provide diverse ways for readers to sit down and stay. Just in the arrangements of the bookshelves, together with the relationship applied in the seats, a place advocating the renaissance of daily reading and poetry is quietly growing in the metropolis.