Chu has always been attracted and inspired by interesting bookstore designs because they are not simply commercial shops designed to sell books. They are also spaces that collect and share knowledge as well as being public spaces for relaxation and contemplation. For Chu, to be able to create such a place is the ultimate achievement.
When the opportunity arose to partner up with Fangsuo Bookstore on their latest project, Chu didn’t hesitate to leap at the chance. His initial proposal was centered around the concept of “The Secret Scripture Library”. Historically scripture libraries have existed in Buddhist temples for many centuries and also have an extended meaning of stored wisdom in Mandarin Chinese. This concept resonated deeply with the Fangsuo team and was immediately accepted.
In the thousands of years of Chinese history, there have been many numerous and infamous quests for ancient scriptures and the wisdom that they hold. This spirit of exploration was something that Chu wanted to capture in the Fangsuo Bookstore. Moreover, Chu not only wanted people to experience this quest into the unknown, but he also wanted the bookstore to have the solemnity of a temple since books represent some of mankind’s most deep and profound wisdom.
Following on the theme of the cosmos, the entrance to the bookstore is through a sculpture shaped like a meteor. This mysterious tunnel is intentionally designed to feel narrow and confining for those passing through it. This near claustrophobic experience when you first enter is then followed by a sudden release into a large open space where you feel the pressure immediately ease. The initial journey through this meteor – this ark to knowledge, is designed to release tension and allow customers to enter the bookstore with a relaxed frame of mind, open to discovery and enchantment.
The Fangsuo Bookstore Project was completed in 14 months. The bookstore was well received by everyone and continues to enchant people to this day. For Chu, the job of the designer is to help the dreamers of the world realize their dreams. While he is certainly grateful for the positive feedback for his designs, he feels that the ultimate success of the store should be credited to the ambitious vision of the owners. This project not only allows Fangsuo Bookstore to realise their dream, but it allowed Chu to fulfil a lifelong goal of designing a beautiful bookstore.