If you could design a bookshop from the ground up, how would it look? That question is one that few of us will ever have to answer, but one that Tadao Ando, the self-taught Japanese architect answered in spades when he designed the Xinhua bookshop in the Aegean Mall in Shanghai.
The long curving walls and see through stairs have an amazing effect and are lit so well. Constructed from beech and pine the shelves themselves turn into an architectural splendor.
With 17,000 sq feet of space and over 30,000 titles onhand the problem is not in finding a book but deciding on which book! To that end, Xinhau has two solutions; one a team of well educated, widely read, and well-trained staff and also new technology. Not sure what to read, well ask the computer, which will scan your face to read your mood ask you a couple of questions about your interested and then make suggestions and advise where the books can be located. Six such suggestion booths serve the store adequately.
To complement the bookshop there is a top floor art gallery with regular exhibitions and of course a gallery shop featuring books on the artist and associated merchandise.
This is a great place to spend half a day if you happen to be dropping by Shanghai!