Chinese Bookstore’s Chandeliers Look Like Sheets of Paper Floating in Mid-Air

Contemporary Bookstore in China by Tomoko Ikegai

The Chinese city of Xi'an is continuing its emergence as a center of architecture and design with the YJY Maike Centre Flagship by Japanese designer Tomoko Ikegai of IKG Inc. This bookstore and commercial center has a warm, modern feel that places books and learning at the center. Wishing to evoke the feelings of a library and gallery, Ikegai marries both concepts across two levels and nearly 50,000 square feet (4,500 square meters) of space.

Looking to create an ambiance where people, cultures, and books from around the world could mingle, a literary theme runs throughout the interior. Visitors are instantly brought into the concept as they are welcomed by a 33-foot-tall bookcase just inside the entryway—a bold statement that immediately establishes the function of the building. This is carried through to the delightful lighting above the open spiral staircase, which mimics floating pieces of paper just waiting to be filled with words.

“Libraries are spaces for learning and valuing independent time, while galleries serve as intellectual spaces for displaying culture,” IKG Inc writes. “The design blends elements of both and also incorporates features of palace architecture in order to encourage visitors and the store to collaboratively exchange and develop creative ideas.”

Ikegai also took cues from Japanese and Chinese palaces by playing with the scale of the space and the arrangement of interconnected rooms. Intimate seating areas and rich wood tones keep the interior cozy, providing balance to the grand scale of the architecture.

The second floor of the YJY Maike Centre Flagship acts as a lobby for the Grand Hyatt, which runs on the upper floors. In keeping with the idea of hospitality, there is also a coffee bar to encourage socializing. This level plays to the Ikegai's gallery concept. Low ceilings, dark flooring, and display boxes set into a 165-foot-long “Book Street” all help evoke the atmosphere of a gallery while tying into the bookstore below. Specially commissioned artwork reflecting themes appropriate to the location and Xi'an's rich history round out the experience.

Japanese designer Tomoko Ikegai created the interior of the YJY Maike Centre Flagship bookstore and commercial space.

Beautiful Bookstore in ChinaYJY Maike Centre in Tomoko IkegaiInterior Design of Bookstore in Xi'an by IKG

Books are a central theme in the design, including dramatic lighting that looks like sheets of floating paper.

YJY Maike Centre in Tomoko IkegaiInterior Design of Bookstore in Xi'an by IKGYJY Maike Centre in Tomoko IkegaiContemporary Bookstore in China by Tomoko Ikegai

Located in Xi'an, the bookstore's design was influenced by libraries and galleries as places for cultural exchange.

YJY Maike Centre in Tomoko IkegaiContemporary Bookstore in China by Tomoko IkegaiBeautiful Bookstore in China

“The overall effect is a tasteful, classic environment that reflects China’s long and proud history, where visitors can relax, unwind, learn, think, enjoy life, and embark on a creative journey that transcends space and time.”

YJY Maike Centre in Tomoko IkegaiYJY Maike Centre in Tomoko IkegaiBeautiful Bookstore in China

IKG Inc: Website | Facebook

All images via Nacasa&Partners. My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by IKG Inc.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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