Curving wood-lined nooks create private reading pockets in Shanghai children's library

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Sissi's Wonderland by Muxin studio

Curving wood-lined nooks create private reading spaces in Shanghai children's library

Huge arched doorways lead to a suite of cosy wood-lined reading nooks in this children's library in Shanghai, designed by Muxin Studio to be like a "giant toy".

Sissi's Wonderland by Muxin studio

The local architects designed Sissi's Wonderland library to encourage children to explore and play in a space that isn't overly embellished.

Sissi's Wonderland by Muxin studio

With this in mind, Muxin Studio avoided sharp corners, hard materials and straight lines to ensure the children's safety, and added light-toned materials and touches of greenery.

Sissi's Wonderland by Muxin studio

Curvilinear white walls wrap the bean-shaped main library and reading area. Doorways with rounded tops lead to three semi-circular reading nooks on the outskirts.

Sissi's Wonderland by Muxin studio

"It's an attempt to turn the space itself into a giant toy, in which children can freely explore, discover and create their own lively experience," the architects explained.

"We are aiming to create a cozy and amicable places for children to read and play, a place that inspires their imagination and creativity."

Lined with wood, the alcoves feature low level benches for the children to sit and read, either on their own or with their parents privately.

Sissi's Wonderland by Muxin studio

The walls are punctured with arched windows, while doorways enable children to access other reading spaces and the planted indoor area.

Sissi's Wonderland by Muxin studio

"We grow green plants on the boundaries where different spaces meet, which helps sustaining the dynamic among person, space and nature," said the studio.

Sissi's Wonderland by Muxin studio

More shelves and benches are fitted into the other side of the curved white walls, where a grey-carpeted pathway is covered by a white canopy – the walkway is large enough for the children to play games.

Sissi's Wonderland by Muxin studio

Intended as a more social area, the main space features wooden bookshelves that encircle a play space with a grass-like carpeting. The ceiling above is black – when the lights are on it looks like a night sky.

Sissi's Wonderland by Muxin studio

Other recent projects designed for children include a micro-house in a Japanese kindergarten and a space in Madrid by Rica Studio featuring thick inhabitable walls that children can clamber into.

Photography is by Zhang Daqi.


Project credits:

Design: Muxin Studio
Design team: Zhang Lei, Sun Haochen, Zhang Yiye, Jiang Dawei, Zhang Shuhang

More images and plans

Sissi's Wonderland by Muxin studio
Floor plan
Sissi's Wonderland by Muxin studio
Section one
Sissi's Wonderland by Muxin studio
Section two