Between Pages

The renovation project by Fon Studio turns a Hutong house into the Spring Whispers Book Club distinguished by the dialogue among the reader, book and space

Even in Beijing’s winter fell, people's enthusiasm for the renewal of old city has never diminished. In Xian Yu Kou District, there are several Hutongs interspersed with a newly built river, the evergreen plants and the cobblestone path look particularly clear and bright. The Spring Whispers Book Club, which is the first domestic magazine library, is located in a traditional three-room house presented with public functions after the new overall planning of the neighborhood. Through reusing this place, the founders and Fon Studio hope to give a new spatial ex-perience to those who still enjoy paper reading and journals in terms of artistic design, movies and music.

As a renovation project, the main focus is to balance the relationship between feature of quaint building with the newly-added element so that the interior space continues naturally into outdoor space. Since the original wooden structure fell into disrepair, some parts have already crooked and damaged. But it is still solidly available after the simple reinforcement and restoration. As the new structural material, teak was constructed with steel structure in selected original frame to maintain the integrity of spatial structure.

Spring Whispers Book Club, Fon Studio, XXI Architecture Magazine

With the connection of gray terrazzo, some soothing rectangular blocks are spread out in the facade along the river. Among these, the main entrance is linked with bar area, and combining them in a box space inserted into the original room can realise a concise and clear division of function. A big worktable designed for book display, reading and discussion is placed beside the glass window, readers can enjoy sun-shine and the view of river and weeping willows outside when staying here. In the west side, the grille folding window is designed for the summer shading as well as cleverly responses to the traditional decora-tion's language.

The display of classified books is the prelude of reading. After getting inside, people’s visual focus is transferred naturally to the bookshelf area, because the combination of light white steel and wooden box is particularly eye-catching, and a variety of books and magazines in different sizes of frame are presented to readers. Designers purpose to create a relaxed and orderly experience in this limited space, so that readers can find a suitable space for pacing, daze and concentration. In the bar&table area, sunshine spread on the fingertips through vertical grilles and a long window and flowing in different materials.

The Spring Whispers Book Club is founders’ ideal place, because the charm of reading makes us always passionate about it. A dialogue among the reader, book and space has quietly started in this riverside cottage.