A first-hand second-hand bookstore and a point of sale modeled on old libraries are among the projects featured in our latest look bookwho explores library interior designs.

Architects and designers around the world have created bookstores with striking interiors that offer more than just a place to buy things.

From a hall of zigzag stairs in China to a yellow-hued cave in East London, here are 10 bookstore interiors that offer immersive and unusual browsing experiences.

This is the latest in our lookbook series, which is visually inspired by the Dezeen archives. For more inspiration, check out previous lookbooks featuring brutalist interiors, light-filled atriums and dressing rooms.

The photo is by Hu Yanyun

Deja Vu Recycle Store, China, by Offhand Practice

Chinese Architecture Workshop Casual practice designed a second-hand bookstore in Shanghai to mimic the interior of a greengrocer by displaying items in familiar supermarket-style checkouts.

Created to counter the ‘shabby’ image commonly associated with second-hand retailers, Deja Vu Recycle Store features a light interior defined by stone mosaic tiles and natural pine.

“[The project] shatters the stereotypical image of a thrift store and erases the ritualistic feel of a traditional bookstore full of full-height shelves,” said Offhand Practice.

Learn more about Deja Vu Recycle Store ›

Stone sculpture, paneled bookstore
The photo is by Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen

New Mags, Denmark, by Norm Architects

Commissioning of the New Mags table book distributor Normal Architects design the interior of its flagship store in Copenhagenwhich winks at the serenity of old libraries.

Natural oak panels were used to create towering display walls for the books. Various publications are also displayed on stone plinths that echo a looming organically shaped stone sculpture by local artist Josefine Winding.

Learn more about New Mags ›

Chongqing Zhongshuge Bookstore by X+Living
The photo is by Shao Feng

Chongqing Zhongshuge Bookstore, China, by X+Living

A maze of intricate staircases, amplified by a mirrored ceiling, forms a dramatic backdrop for this bookstore of Chongqing by Shanghai-based studio X+Living.

Thanks to their wide steps, the stairs also serve as reading corners for patrons, while the overall stepped outline created in the central space aims to reference Chongqing’s urban skyline.

Learn more about Chongqing Zhongshuge Bookstore ›

Bookstore in Italy
The photo is by Žiga Lovšin

Book Center Trieste, Italy, by SoNo Arhitekti

Another store interior that draws inspiration from its setting, this Trieste bookstore features diamond-lit square shelves brick models of the National Hall of Trieste nearby.

Slovenian mint SoNo Architekti repeated this pattern on the shop’s two sofas, which have grid-patterned upholstery. He also reserved space for large display podiums and a reading corner for children.

Learn more about Book Center Trieste ›

Interiors of They Said Books shop, designed by Lado Lomitashvili
The photo is from Nakanimamasakhlisi

They Said Books, Georgia, by Lado Lomitashvili

They Said Books is a bookstore-café in Tbilisi with an interior characterized by Tetris cube-style shelves, yellowed terrazzo bubble shaped reflective wall tiles and sculptures.

Georgian designer Lado Lomitashvili created the store, housed in a 1930s building, to support the “cultural development” of the country’s capital.

Learn more about They Said books ›

Pulse On Cinema and Lobby
Photo courtesy of Pulse On

SFC Shangying Cinema Luxe, China, by Pulse On

hong kongShanghai-based company Pulse On drew inspiration from the strings of musical instruments to design the delicate interior of this Shanghai bookstore, which is also the lobby of a cinema.

Thin metal slats run vertically from floor to ceiling to create shelving, while built-in lighting bathes the various seating areas in a soft glow.

“We wanted to create a zen resting space for guests through the mix of ‘ropes’ and ‘books’“, explained the designers. “It all comes down to the simplicity and purity of the lines – no very contrasting colors are used. “

Learn more about SFC Shangying Cinema Luxe ›

Libreria Bookstore
Photo courtesy of SelgasCano

Libreria, United Kingdom, by SelgasCano

Author Jorge Luis Borges’ 1940s story The Library of Babel informed the winding and cavernous interior of Libreria, a London library designed by the spanish studio SelgasCano.

Handmade shelves were designed in irregular shapes by artists from the Slade School of Fine Art using unfinished recycled wood. They house the store’s many books, which are arranged by subject rather than traditionally by category, to encourage “chance encounters while browsing”.

Learn more about the Libreria ›

Wutopia Lab Books in the Clouds
Photo courtesy of CreatAR Images

Duoyun Bookstore, China, by Wutopia Lab and Office ZHU

five different colors Mark off the areas inside this Huangyan bookstore, which includes reproductions of rare books on display in a large, wood-paneled stairwell.

Duoyun Bookstore was designed by Wutopia Laboratory and Office ZHU to feature layers of perforated metal on its facade – a move that saw two disused buildings renovated to create the store.

Learn more about Duoyun Bookstore ›

MUDA Architects Bookstore
Photo is by Arch-Exist

Xinglong Lake Citic Bookstore, China, by MUDA Architects

Chinese workshop MUDA Architects topped a lakeside bookstore at Chengdu with an upturned book-shaped roof that creates a vast ceiling within.

Large rectilinear windows are positioned lakeside to provide views of the surrounding landscape, while the glass extends below the waterline to create a peaceful and immersive setting for reading.

Learn more about Xinglong Lake Citic Bookstore ›

São Paulo Bookstore
The photo is by Fernando Guerra

Livraria Cultura, Brazil, by Studio MK27

The Livraria Cultura – or Culture Library – was designed by Studio MK27 in Brazil Sao Paulo to be “a 21st century bookstore” that encourages social interaction.

A vast double-height room is bounded by wooden bleachers that span the 21-metre width of the space, where customers are invited to stay and read or socialize even after purchasing their books.

Learn more about Livraria Cultura ›

This is the latest in our lookbook series, which is visually inspired by the Dezeen archives. For more inspiration, check out previous lookbooks featuring colorful living rooms, decorative ceilings and deliberately unfinished interiors.