Boing Boing: Chinese bookstore Yangzhou Zhongshuge in Zhen Yuan, China has arguably the most breathtaking bookstore entrance in the world.
The dizzying space contains a grand optical illusion that you only see once youâ€™ve set foot inside. Its lobby is a cavernous tunnel that most notably features striking black mirrored flooring. Together, the reflective ground and curved shelving creates the feeling that youâ€™ve stepped into a perfectly circular room, making you question which way is up. Luckily, thereâ€™s help in finding the path forward. The shelves are split by a lightning bolt-shaped gap in the ceiling that leads you into the rest of the store.
Shanghai-based studio XL-Muse were the ones to come up with this clever configuration. Inspired by Yangzhouâ€™s proximity to water, they designed the ground to mimic liquid. â€œIn the past, guided by water, many literati and poets visited and gathered here,â€ they told Dezeen. â€œ[The bridges] used to be the guiding factor of culture and commerce, and they represent that the bookstore is the bond between humans and books at the same time.â€ The mirrored flooring acts as a water current that draws you further into Yangzhou.