Bookshop Chinon
Renovation of existing building and interior design // Chinon, FR // Completion April 2006
  • Les Compagnons des Rêves
    This bookshop in Chinon is situated at a pivotal point within the urban fabric, between two public spaces connecting the city centre on the banks of the River Vienne and the castle overlooking the city.
    The location opens up the potential for the shop, visible from the castle looking down over Chinon to become both a nexus of programs and a short cut through the city. The project exploits this in the disposition of spaces, the design of the façades and the relationship of interior to exterior surroundings.
  • North facade before the remodelling
  • The North facade
    The bookshop, situated on the first floor above the Tourist Information office, has two entrances: On the North side at grade from the upper square via a forecourt shared with the city‘s main nursery school. On the South side from the lower square (Place d'Hofheim) a sliding door and via a staircase.

    Photo: © Kapok
  • Section through the shop showing connection to Place d'Hofheim
  • Entrance from Place d'Hofheim
    The entrance on the south façade is made up of a solid timber automatic sliding door carrying the shop‘s signage sliding behind the adjacent shop window. The movement of the door dramatises the threshold between interior and exterior, passer-by and customer, as, in a single gesture the letters of the sign are recombined, the books on display are recontextualised, the vestibule and display area is masked off, and the staircase leading up to the shop behind is revealed.
  • Scrabble facade
    The north façade is conceived as a interactive mnemonic element. Sliding panels with letters cut out of them advertising the bookshop allow infinite degrees of closure. The façades various daily combinations respond to the necessities of advertising, security, display, and lighting requirements, privacy, weather conditions etc., integrated into a playful game of scrabble.
  • North facade by night
  • The adminsitrative block
    Ancillary spaces are situated in a compact block in the northeast corner of the books and incorporate a kitchen opening into the main space, making it possible to augment the program with a café spilling out onto the forecourt in front of the north façade. The entrances create a new connection between the two public spaces.

    Photos: © Kapok
  • View of the renovated interior
    The internal organisation has been designed to preserve the open homogeneity of the two large existing spaces. The cladding of interior ceilings and dramatic uplighting celebrate the timber trusses structuring the space.
  • Modular furniture system

Client: Communauté de commune, Chinon, Rivière, Saint-Benoit la Forêt // Collaborators: Agence Narbonne Luxey, Saumur (site supervision) // Services: Full architectural services // Area: 300 m² // Budget: 2oo,ooo € // Photography: © Ariel Huber unless otherwise stated.