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China’s bookstores — once largely drab, state-run and pragmatic spaces — are slowly evolving to attract a new generation of social media–savvy clientele through daring design. Escher-inspired staircases and towering shelves are the country’s flavour du jour, an arrangement that plays well on camera but can feel as hollow as the fake books that sometimes adorn the shelves. Shanghai’s Wutopia Lab, however, is striving to return the bliss of reading to the heart of bookstore design.

The linear accents along the ceiling and across the stairs of Wutopia Lab’s Satori Harbor emphasize the openness and generosity of the space.

Marking the design studio’s 10th book-related project since 2013, Satori Harbor in China’s...

Wutopia Lab’s Satori Harbor Makes Reading Fun (Again)

At once otherworldly and restrained, Wutopia’s Guangzhou bookshop is a meditative riposte to consumer-driven culture.

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