Harbook, Hangzhou

Designed by: Alberto Caiola
For client: Gavin Zhang Floor area: 600.00 M² Year of completion: 2018
Submitted for: Multi-Brand Store of the Year

Public Score
4.15 Function
4.14 Innovation
4.24 Creativity
Harbook 9 Alberto Caiola
© Dirk Weiblen

Bleachers are meant for both bigger pieces on display as well as guests during conferences and events

About the Project

In Hangzhou, China, Harbook is illustrative of a new wave of book shops incorporating lifestyle elements to appeal to a new generation of urbanites. Comprising a bookstore, café, and contemporary Scandinavian furniture showroom by way of Normann Copenhagen, it blends aspiration with tradition.
For centuries, the city - and its legendary West Lake in particular - has inspired writers, philosophers and poets. Harbook continues this legacy, expanding the city’s literary culture to include nods to European traditions, yet with a progressive contemporary approach.

What’s unique about it

Intersecting the otherwise open- plan 600 sqm space are a series of arches, evocative of classical Italian porticos. Thematically connecting Harbook’s urban elements of socializing, cultural exchange, shopping and dining, they create a quite literally immersive dialogue between eras and cultures, providing a sensual journey through the space.

To reinforce the store’s imaginary cityscape theme, stand-alone displays punctuate the space, like abstract sculptures. Their color palette, as well as surprising mix of materials lend a postmodern edge to offset the store’s more classical elements.

A multipurpose space, Harbook has been designed to host a range of activities. With that in mind, the studio features tiered levels for the purpose of furniture display. Adjacent stairs draw the eye to an attractive raised café area, envisaged as a space for meeting with friends, solitary working, or simply reading. Overlooking West Lake, it lends a dream-like, playful quality to the overall design: the space is wrapped in dusky pink, rendered edgy by way of metallic panels. Underfoot, traditional, locally sourced Chinese floor bricks anchor this otherwise internationally minded lifestyle destination to its East China locale.

Above, an LED light installation acts as a metaphor for the enlightenment attained through reading. At a point in time when for many, literature is accessed online, Harbook shines a light on the timeless luxury of books.

Harbook 11 Alberto Caiola
© Dirk Weiblen

Cafe area

Harbook 10 Alberto Caiola
© Dirk Weiblen

Magazine display

Harbook 8 Alberto Caiola
© Dirk Weiblen

Different metal finishes highlight the relationship between solids and voids

Harbook 1 Alberto Caiola
© Dirk Weiblen

Entrance view

Harbook 7 Alberto Caiola
© Dirk Weiblen

Framed scapes

Harbook 6 Alberto Caiola
© Dirk Weiblen

Arch's Triptych

Harbook 4 Alberto Caiola
© Dirk Weiblen

Geometric display stands intersecting each other

Harbook 3 Alberto Caiola
© Dirk Weiblen

Stand alone display

Harbook 2 Alberto Caiola
© Dirk Weiblen

Counter Detail

Location of project:
Alberto Caiola Studio

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