From visually enticing libraries to literary-inspired installations, these spaces spark the imagination with thought-provoking design elements.
For Focus Advertising’s Shanghai office space, local studio Yushe Design took cues from China’s fondness for literature. Books serve as the “perfect symbol of knowledge and fit with the client’s business of handling data and information,” says principal designer Xu Yi. Take the ceremonial arrival tunnel, which resembles the pages of an open book in a nod to reading’s soothing nature. Spanning four floors and a variety of spaces, including activity and leisure rooms, the serene and minimalist design encourages employees to find moments of solitude in the calm setting. “The age of information explosion has certainly saved a lot of time, but it has also deprived us of the happiness of discovery and exploration,” Yi adds. “We wanted to create an interior in which the employees could reset and focus in the same way one can relax while reading a book.”
Collective Canary Wharf
At Collective Canary Wharf, a co-living community is East London, members live in beautifully designed private studios equipped with kitchenettes and en suite bathrooms. The common areas are equally well-considered. A welcoming library, a swimming pool and spa, a chef-style communal kitchen, a VR golf simulator, and a gaming room are among the numerous onsite amenities that encourage people “to work, live, and be with one another,” according to Thomas Downes, the Collective’s head of interiors.
Designed by California-based studio Wilson Ishihara, the interiors of Hotel Emblem in San Francisco are inspired by the Beat Generation, the 1950s literacy movement that promoted freedom of speech, thinking and living boldly, and defying the status quo. The property, which is managed by Viceroy Hotels & Resorts, aims to spark creativity at every turn, including in the lobby, where guests are greeted by walls lined with stacks of books—a space dubbed the Writer’s Alcove.
Khan Lab School
The Khan Lab School in Mountain View, California is a hybrid mix of school and laboratory conceived by Sal Khan, founder of online learning platform Khan Academy, as a way to test out new learning practices. The campus, designed by Atlanta-based architecture firm Kurani, emphasizes change, evolution, and experimentation thanks to numerous mobile and adaptable design solutions. Other clever elements include a seating nook within bookshelves.
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