Wandering in a forest of Books
He who loveth a book will never lack a faithful friend, a wholesome counsellor, a cheerful companion, or an effectual comforter.
Made from plant fibers, paper books have a natural and earthy touch, imparting an indescribably intimate and warm feeling when we read them. Paper-book reading has long been an experience that solaces our minds and nourishes our souls. The unique authenticity, vividness and earthiness in this traditional media often inspire us to rethink our lives. Such inspiration and experience can never be replaced by digital online. The overabundance of electronic products makes offline reading much more valuable, calling for protection of our vulnerable ecosystem of humanity in the same way as we cherish nature.
Designers Yi Chen and Muchen Zhang partnered with Beijing Capital Land in a project to explore cultural lifestyles in Hangzhou, providing local citizens with a way of life to satisfy their needs for culture, lifestyle and spirituality. Designed to be a representation of the warmth of life, the space embodies the humanistic, historic and cultural heritage of Hangzhou, and serve as a versatile hub for both cultural experiences and community services.
This is a reading-themed living space as well as a social platform based upon coffee experience. The formation of Yue Library epitomizes years of cultural practice of the Beijing Capital Land, including a carefully selected collection of brands including Yuntai Bookshop, Yue Coffee and the Beijing Capital Langyuan. It is built as a shared space for cultural experience that integrates systematic, diversified and upgraded lifestyles of reading, coffee and cultural interaction. In addition to the reading area and the coffee area, the Yue Library also features an area dedicated to experiences of all five senses (vision, hearing, taste, smell and touch), covering a variety of themed spaces such as a talking space, a children’s playground. By combining cultural connotation with the living scenes, the project manages to embed culture into everyday life and presents an intimate environment for cultural life in the local community.
The Yue Library provides local communities and literary scenes with multiple possibilities of cultural experiences, including reading and book borrowing, literature and arts salon, movie concerts, international music festival, etc. It also pioneers in creating a "shared experience space" with abundant cultural resources in Hangzhou. It also serves as a platform for cultural exchange for all those engaged in the fields of culture and arts. The Yue Library is set to become a highly esteemed venue for literary circles.
In designing the whole space, Yi Chen and Muchen Zhang purposefully creates a strong ecological ambience of organic interdependence, responding to the prevailing desire for breathing in nature, reunion with nature, and echoing with nature, so that the whole natural ecological ambience can return as the backdrop of our lives.
Natural wood is largely used in the space. The designers try to keep the use of materials and design language to a minimal degree, so that the innate property of wood can be highlighted in a simple and unpretentious manner, and that the space modestly exudes a state of inner life.
Natural wood is a material filled with vitality, whose temperature and touch are quite similar to those of human beings. In fact, the designers have found a material in harmony with human body in natural wood, to respond to the primitive longing to be caressed and embraced, which is pretty much what paper books have done for us. By building and shaping the space with natural wood, a kind of resonance with human body can be created, which adds a dimension of warmth and kindness to everything we do in the space, making it a soothing and relaxing retreat from urban pressure.
The 10-meter-high interior space is divided into several horizontal layers, forming platforms for various activities in different spatial dimensions. Large glass wall allows in large quantity of natural light cascading down along the large stairs, and at the same time providing open view for the natural beauty of the garden outside. The wall-like bookshelves create a dense forest space feeling, while the corridor bridges serve as a pathway that threads through different horizontal and vertical spaces, creating a sense of psychological connection. This multiple dimension of space also translates into broadened and extended minds and thinking.
The designers focused on the deepest needs – the desire of a spiritual and mental nature. The Yue Library is a place for people to enjoy spiritual comfort, a haven where people can put down their burdens and seek the freedom of their hearts. What makes human beings special is the fact that we are always pursuing eternity and perfection in our hearts, and design is one of the ways to achieve this value expression.
Walking into this jungle of books, you can draw inspiration from a vast pool of wisdom. This is where you can immerse yourself in writings, interact with ideas and authors from the past and the present, and explore possibilities and spiritual needs; traverse the boundaries of urban life, and break down the psychological barriers between individuals. This is your Yue Library.