The Rongbaozhai Coffee Bookstore project is located in a well-known street in Beijing called Liulichang. The previous retailers sold rare books, Chinese paintings, and calligraphy publications. The original two-storey book store was designed with pseudo-classic architecture, and was built in the 80s by the government under a strategy of uniform construction.
Rongbaozhai (which means studio of glorious treasures) has amassed a dedicated following attracted to its open spaces, lively greenery and slow and easy rhythm. And most importantly because it is accompanied by a fragrant cup of Joe served in minimalist, light filled interiors which welcomes all to stay and relax.
The modern 300 square meter space has become a role-model for bookstore outposts around the world , the project by archstudio has become an architectural attraction due to the sleek structure and compound management model.
The store design focuses on transparency to create a feeling of openness. The iron book shelves, located through-out the store, integrate function, transportation, and illumination, and they allow for the versatile placement of green plants around the store to make the internal space more continuous and open, as well as full of vitality.
Plants are placed between the iron bookshelves to add a touch of nature to the sleek interiors and they effectively adjust indoor microclimates. LED light strips are installed at the bottom of the plant boxes, which provide readers with indirect illumination. Sciophilous ferns are the primary choice of indoor plants and the high plant boxes are furnished with climbing shrubs. In addition, herbs such as mint and pelargonium odoratissimum are placed in front of the windows and on the coffee tables.
The focal point of the coffee bookstore is an island surrounded by the iron bookshelf walls and reading tables and chairs for patrons. The isle acts as a decorative centerpiece on the first floor and is used as the cashier desk and coffee operating center.
The second storey features glass panes, used to create meeting spaces, that slide to make rooms smaller or larger while their transparency help retain the open and light-filled theme that runs through-out the bookstore.