Sophia bookshop & publishing house

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Sophia bookshop & publishing house

The transformation of a shut-off pesticide warehouse into an inviting, ‘transparent’ bookshop and a small publishing house stood as a chance to experiment with multiple glass layers, triangulated surfaces, distorted geometries and non-standard construction methods in a manageable scale.

Two vertically folded, spiraling, glass trapezoids form the labyrinth-like shop windows and a recessed entrance. Clear volumes of ever-increasing height towards the interior of the spirals serve as display surfaces on multiple levels. The multiplicity of the glass layers generates unexpected idols and multiple reflections that change dramatically according to natural and artificial lighting conditions.

The angular, winding forms of the two service stalls result from the distortion of an initially rectangular, 15m. long, linear piece (as requested by the client). Their geometry is complimented by the sphenoid forms of a custom-made, back-lit trapezoid units shelf system that stands behind them. Together they direct visually to the inner part of the elongated plan.

A triangulated back-lit ‘cloud’ surface hanging from the double-height void acts as a lighting body. The angled steel and glass staircase leads to an interior balcony with an office (overlooking directly the entrance below) and a small conference room.

To minimize construction time, singular pieces were cut by CNC (computer numeric control) machines while the seemingly singular elements of the shelf system are actually the result of an irregular placing of 3 shelf units that create single and double height shelf surfaces. Additionally, all internal vertical support elements of the stalls are broken down to only 2 repeated pieces.

The biggest part of the extremely low budget was used in favor of the clear and translucent safety glass while for the rest of the elements the following rough materials with minimum treatment were chosen; uncolored protected steel, rough silver lacquered laminated wooden panels, clear Plexiglas and reflective heavy-duty industrial flooring in light gray.


8 photos and 4 drawings

Building Activity