Is This New, Gleaming Bookstore in Hangzhou the Future of Books?

We marvel at pretty much every bookstore brave enough to open in today’s retail landscape — this little gem inside a cement box in Austin being a recent example — but that goes double for the new Harbook shop in Hangzhou, China, designed by the Shanghai studio of Alberto Caiola. A sprawling, 6,500 square-foot playground filled with monumental custom furnishings and rows of thick steel archways, where coffee table tomes are sold alongside cafe food and Normann Copenhagen furniture, it’s almost touching in how it seems to channel the glory days of the early 2000s, when ambitious “concept stores” still flourished and Amazon hadn’t yet ruined books for everyone else. We’re rooting for it, if for no other reason than we want to live in a world where huge purple zig zag tables and green velvet curtains can not only coexist, but flourish.


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