“The fact that the artwork does not remain creates an urgency to see it.” ----Jeanne Claude
Zhenhua Luo, the director of WIT Design & Research, was invited to design a pop-up shop named “The Cloud” based on the theme that “A bookstore runs away from home” in December 2021. In this case, bookstores no longer bear too much responsibility to be an iconic architectural representation of the city.
Stop pursuing timelessness
No need to feel regret
Bookstores are facing challenges in the new area. At the same time, they need solutions to different problems. In this case, Jetlag Books, a pop-up shop, is proposed to attract the interest and attention of the public.
In December 2020, Luo was commissioned to design this space and he devoted six months to focusing on the concept of “disappearing architecture”. This is in contrast to other designers who normally pursue the timelessness of architecture. The key point here is to draw attention to the disappearance of Beijing bookstores. As when Cristo and Jean-Claude drew attention to temporariness when the Arc de Triomphe was wrapped in Paris.
A new metropolis magazine stall in the era of “The Cloud”
The conceptual drawing was quickly and unanimously approved by the clients, Jetlag Books and The New, when they saw it. It shows several cloud-shaped installations hanging from the ceiling, and magazines and various life style scenes are scattered around. Different from other surrounding finely-decorated stores, Jetlag Books is immediately impressive at first glance.
For Luo, the design was based on the observation of the nature of things. The digital “clouds” are used to reflect on the concept of “disappearing”. They also represent the “cloud Internet era”. The limit of the original net height posed a challenge to the performance of spatial tension, so the flatter, softer and more fluid cloud eliminates this deficiency. "Sunshine" is projected through the holes in the cloud, and falling cloud fragments become display racks. The original roof and artesian floor are similarly colored, which backs up the performance of the pure white installations. With attention to sustainability, the designer was able to create a fantastic space in an elegant way.
Jetlag Books updates the magazines and items in the store on a regular basis and endorses lifestyle and culture concepts by going beyond the limits of the physical space to establish positive interactions combined with the required market themes of the mall.
Tech follows hospitality
When other commercial buildings are all exerting their efforts in the exploration of how to approach customers, WIT Design has managed to find a smarter solution. Through limited use of technology and the presentation of clouds with minimal form but full of tension, pure elegance is achieved.
Far from experiencing jet lag, customers can enjoy a sense of travelling and roaming the world in the bookstore. A reminder of both the numerous magazine stalls that once lined the streets in old Beijing and their sudden and complete disappearance. In contrast, through mapping Jetlag Books has created a pop-up space which reminds people of the lost magazine stall.
The space does not aim to be an “immortal” store, nor do Jetlag books wish to become an immortal brand. Hence, the design returns all the autonomy to the bookstore. People walk into it, not because the space caters to the needs of consumers, but because it reveals itself in the way it does.
Through the concept of “cloud” born out of research of the magazine and its marriage with technology, WIT has created a substantial space that can truly deliver the creative core value of Jetlag Books.