A seaside bookstore of five-hundred-and-nintety square meters. Boxes and corners provide a shelter for those who seek quiet with levels of interaction. On the Golden Beach of Qinhuangdao
OWSpace in China
Aranya is a resort of two-hundred-and-twenty hectares located on the Qinhuangdao Golden Beach, in Beidaihe. Founded in 2013 by Ma Yin as an attempt to fight the architectures of the metropolis. When developing Aranya, Ma Yin aimed at rebuilding a neighbourhood-like community. He therefore invited architecture firms – VectorArchitects, OPEN Architecture, Neri&Hu, Shuhei Aoyama and Odd Architecture – to build the spaces. «Life could be better» is a value system reflecting the urge to return to family, to the inner self as well as to a spiritual life. «Buildings and spaces should hold significance, giving both shelter and consolation to the soul». Among the ‘spiritual buildings’ of Aranya – the Seaside Library, UCCA Dune Art Museum, and Aranya Art Center – there is also OWSpace Bookstore, a seaside bookstore of five-hundred-and-ninety square meters designed by B.L.U.E. Architecture Studio in 2018.
The design of OWSpace was conjured by the concept of loneliness, by the experience of being alone by the sea, away from the noise of the city life. Its façade overlooks the central square of Aranya, where public activities take place. Further, B.L.U.E.
The store design
Architecture Studio maintained the one-story concrete structure and worked to create a vertical patchwork of landscape walls. With primitive texture, the entrance wall creates a space of transition between public and private, outside and inside. From the square, glancing through the vertical lines that shutter the large windows, one can visualise the space inside.
The texture of the building is dark grey wood, steel and terrazzo. The architects attempted to give the space an extension by playing with vertical and horizontal surfaces. Grey wooden walls create boxes and corners in shapes and sizes. This allows levels of interaction depending on an individual’s needs. In OWSpace public and private space are deconstructed and merged, to explore the concepts of solitude and togetherness.
Lampoon review: Chinese and foreign literature at OWSpace
According to the owner of the bookstore, the best sellers at OWSpace are Chinese and foreign literature, and lifestyle books. There is a section of non-fictions, organized in four main categories: Independent, Humanities, Social Science and Aesthetics. When selecting the books to display on their shelves, they use aesthetic principles reflecting the evolution of society and ideas in human history. They also conduct surveys among customers to learn about their tastes. To help readers better understand the books and products, they single out sentences and paragraphs from their favorite books and display them on the bookcases beside the volumes.
Further, OWSpace sells stationery products. The co-branded book cover named Going up to the Sun Terrace, is a reproduction of the calligraphy work of the Tang Dynasty poet Li Bai. The book cover is recommended for those who are interested in ancient Chinese culture. OWSPACE Desk Calendar preserves the ‘Dos and Don’ts of the Chinese lunar calendar. The bookstore hosts free literature salons as well as cultural events for locals and visitors.
The owner added that during the pandemic this year, when OWSpace reopened after weeks of lockdown, they witnessed an interest in books related to viruses and epidemics – La Peste by Albert Camus and The Hot Zone by Richard Preston. In China the situation is steadier, and people’s choices in books have resumed to what they were before the pandemic.
Aranya, Hebei, Qinhuangdao, Changli County, 364
Located in Aranya resort in Qinhuangdao, OWSPACE is a waterfront library of five-hundred-and-ninety square meters. The design contents include facade renovation, interior as well as landscape design.