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A surreal bookstore in China looks like it’s straight out of a ‘Harry Potter’ movie

Summary List PlacementFOLLOW US: Insider is on Facebook A dreamlike bookstore that just opened in Sichuan, China, is being compared to scenes from iconic fictional worlds. Source: X+Living The two-story space designed by Shanghai-based studio X+Living is lined with row after row of glowing shelves that appear to extend indefinitely thanks to mirrored ceilings...

Dujiangyan Zhongshuge bookstore diptych with Harry Potter

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A dreamlike bookstore that just opened in Sichuan, China, is being compared to scenes from iconic fictional worlds.

Source: X+Living

The two-story space designed by Shanghai-based studio X+Living is lined with row after row of glowing shelves that appear to extend indefinitely thanks to mirrored ceilings and a shiny black tiled floor.

Source: X+Living

Commenting on an Instagram post by studio founder Li Xiang, several people likened the space to something out of the wizarding world of Harry Potter.

Source: xlivingart

One user called the space “a combination of the Great Hall and Room of Hidden Things” from Hogwarts.

Another called it one of graphic artist M.C. Escher’s dreamscapes “come to life.” M.C. Escher is most famous for sketching “impossible constructions” like never-ending staircases, according to the M.C. Escher Foundation.

Source: xlivingart, M.C. Escher Foundation

Xiang herself calls the bookstore “magical.”

Source: xlivingart

The feeling of magic, she wrote on Instagram, is created in part from the structure of the shelves. While the store houses a staggering 80,000 books …

Source: xlivingart

… there appear to be many more.

Source: X+Living

To extend the height of the shelves, X+Living placed film resembling shelves filled with books in the highest parts of the store, Xiang told Insider.

Source: X+Living

“The books on the top of the bookshelf are actually decoration,” Xiang explained on Instagram, “but all the books within the reach of readers are readable.”

Source: X+Living

The bookstore is one of more than a dozen surreal spaces that X+Living has designed for Chinese bookseller Zhongshuge. Most are inspired by local landscapes and also feature mirrored ceilings, Xiang told Insider.

Source: X+Living

Called Dujiangyan Zhongshuge, this outpost is located in the city of Dujiangyan.

Source: X+Living

For the design, Xiang drew inspiration from the city’s 2,000-year-old, UNESCO World Heritage river irrigation system and the surrounding mountains.

Source: X+Living

Xiang wanted visitors to feel the same sense of awe in the library that they do in nature, using reflections and optical tricks to make visitors feel “the big size difference” between themselves and the space.

Source: X+Living

In a nod to Dujiangyan’s river dams, X-Living incorporated arched walnut bookcases …

Source: X+Living

… and placed oval-shaped book tables placed on a black tiled floor to emulate boats moored on the water.

Source: X+Living

The mirrored ceiling creates an “open and high feeling,” and traveling underneath the large arches feels like “stepping into a rolling mountain,” X-Living writes on its website.

Source: X+Living

At the same time, the arches section off the space, creating intimate reading and study alcoves.

Source: X+Living

While the pandemic has kept more people at home across the globe, Xiang believes that in-person experiences like visiting a bookstore will always be in demand, she recently told Fast Company.

Source: Fast Company

“I see from people’s reaction during the quarantine that real experience … is an eternal pursuit of human beings,” she said.

Source: Fast Company

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