Wutopia Lab has recently transformed one of the Sinan Mansions, a series of colonial buildings from the 20s and 30s in Shanghai’s Luwan district, into a new bookstore. The goal was to provide a space for learning and thinking for the general public living in the city.
Considering one’s mind, thoughts, perception and sub-consciousness, Sinan books is seen as a person with a system of acquiring knowledge while discovering oneself and the surrounding.
The entrance level of Building 25 is set on the second floor. It features a café, an area for literature and the public yet intimate Sinan living room. On the third floor, there is an area focused on art, the peaceful Sinan music room as well as flexible spaces that can host exhibitions, book club events, and small concerts. It’s a perfect place to experience the charm of art.
Located on the fourth floor, the writer’s study symbolizes the bookstore’s thoughts. Small cultural saloons will be held here. It’s a place for conversations and debates. The basement is conceived as the bookstore’s sub-consciousness, hosting a collection of history and philosophy books. A labyrinth made of bookshelves offers visitors their own space.
On the west side of the labyrinth is the special selection from the London Review Books, a sister bookstore of Sinan books. On the east side, a large study room features a central table that displays various objects of creative product design. Additionally, the spaces underneath the two staircases are used to create two reading rooms for individuals and pairs. The underutilized south patio is redesigned into a flower porch, using planters to create a vivid back façade for the bookstore.
Wutopia Lab believes that a monochromatic scheme cannot sufficiently depict the diversity of the period. Color has always been closely related to people’s feelings and emotions. Relating Sinan Books to a human body, its color should be a perceived color, experienced in relation to the light of the day as well as one’s mental state at a given moment.
The entrance features a red arcade, indicating Sinan books’ attitude of openness. Different hues of green set off the exhibition spaces. The gold of his/her reading room is a hidden surprise. The black and white spaces on the fourth floor encourage one to face oneself. Lastly, on the top floor roof terrace, white marble pieces are paved to create a light and airy surface, which the texture of history and the layers of knowledge rest below.