When Taiwanese designer Chu Chih-Kang
was called upon to design the Fang Suo Bookstore in Chengdu, he set about researching key landmarks in the city that could serve as inspiration for the project.
He became intrigued by the history of Xuanzhang, a famous Chinese Buddhist monk in the Tang dynasty who resided and practiced Buddhism in Daci Temple, which is located in the vicinity of where the bookstore would stand.
The idea to design of modern day Sutra depository soon took root. A Sutra depository is a private place where all kinds of knowledge from books to Buddhist texts (sutras) and letters in ancient China were stored, and Chu used many raw materials and techniques to set the scene, such as towering 9-metre-high concrete columns and bookcases nestled in lofts.
The spirit of exploration and sense of wonder were also elements that Chu looked to capture within the cavernous space. Visitors get to experience this when they descend into the bookstore via an escalator wrapped in a grand copper sculpture, which takes the form of a meteorite.
Beyond its historical references, Chu also wanted the bookstore to speak to the Sichuan people and their way of life. With considerations for their relaxed lifestyle and love for socialising, Chu designed many sitting areas where customers can rest and take a breather, read and chat amongst friends.
Chu Chih-Kang Space Design