Zhongshuge bookstore in Guiyang, China


A new massive, modern library or bookstore seems to be popping up in China every month, especially in the southwestern province of Guizhou and its 4.5-million-inhabitant capital, Guiyang.

More often than not, the company building the massive bookstores is Zhongshuge, and the design firm behind the unconventional store concepts is XL-muse, also known as X+ Living.


XL Muse Architectural Design (Shanghai) Co. Ltd is led by Li Xiang. Zhongshuge’s plan is to lure people away from their screens and from online shopping to amazing and inspiring bookstores and books. 

And, according to research, the Chinese book business – already huge at around $14 billion US – is growing steadily by about 10-13 per cent.


The latest Zhongshuge-X+Living bookstore entry is a spectacular 3400 square-metre (36,597 sq.ft) cave of wonders where books are in high, curved nooks and crannies.


In addition to nature, local minority cultures inspired some of the design elements. The sparse material palette leaves the key roles to books and their readers and nothing in the immediate scene reminds the customer about shopping. Yet, relaxing with books in a store such as this most likely is the reason for at least some of the growth in book business in China. Tuija Seipell.