X+Living Makes Cinematic Experience More Comprehensive

The post-pandemic period will need architects to think out of the box and repurpose commercial spaces to eloquent, less-crowded spaces. X+Living Architects shows us how in Taiyuan, China, by creating an innovative experience that is more than just cinematic viewing.  


In this post-pandemic era, the operation of cinemas and future development of the film industry has become a prudent discussion point for the survival of a vital industry. After a long period of business close-down and limiting audience capacity due to the pandemic, a problem gradually appeared in front of the public – cinema owners should go through a deeper analysis on how to develop their cinema’s commercial value and expand its features in order to adapt to the rapidly changing society.

Last year, X + Living created FAB Cinema in Xi’an and brought the scenes behind the big screen into the public space. This time, FAB Cinema collaborated with Zhongshuge to create an innovational cinema experience and X+ Living was invited to design this cross-brand project.

“Designing a cross-brand space is not simply about mixing features of two brands together. The designer has to integrate cultural aspects of both brands together organically, using human sentiments of the bookstore to elevate the brand value of the entertainment space, at the same time maximising both spaces’ social features to bring customers a different experience,” says Li Xiang, the chief designer behind X+Living.

The ticket office of the cinema expands to be a reading hall, thus adding cross-purpose utility of spaces.

“On the fifth floor is the ticket office of the cinema, but also the reading hall for Zhongshuge. A concise outline of the bookshelf wall creates a ceremonial reception space, which also weakens the commercial atmosphere of the space. Wooden material with a metal cover creates an out-of-the-world feeling. It provides a unique way for the audience to spend time before the movies,” says Li.

In the lecture hall, bookshelves adopt a step-down design and create an abstract mountain shape that brings in functions such as seats, stairs, and displays naturally. This space is not only able to host book-related events but also is the perfect place for hosting various activities regarding movie culture, reviews, and talks.

After the movie, audiences can grab a cup of hot drink in the café of Zhongshuge and have a chat about the movie they were enjoying. This is an exclusive after-party for movie fans.

“Inspired by the mountain surrounded local landscape we used white triangular geometric shapes to create mountains and formed a cave filled with knowledge,” she says.

In the children’s area, the designer has used movie-related elements such as projectors, video recorders, and film to create a fun little world, playfully highlighting the theme of the place.


In the corridor leading to the cinema from the bookstore, the arches rearranged to a height of 10 meters high space which forms a perspective with strong visual impact. “The up and downstream traffic flow design cleverly separates the movie viewers from the book readers, preventing them from interfering with each other,” she says.

“Wood used in the project are all Level A fireproof, which not only highlight the aesthetics but also guarantee safety. The space’s fine texture combining with the overall warm tone creates a cultural accumulating atmosphere. The design creates a positive flow for customers in different commercial spaces, it activates a new business model for cinemas, at the same time provides an upgrade of the “retail + entertainment” model for the renaissance of physical bookstores,” says Li.


Project name: Taiyuan FAB Cinema

Project Location: Taiyuan, China

Project Area: 4600 sq meter

Completion time: 2021.02

Design company: X+Living

Chief designer: Li Xiang

Project director: Ren Lijiao, Wu Feng

Designer: Qian Huilan, Zhao Dandan, Chen Lufang, Li Jiaxin, Yang Qiaoliu, Fan Haifeng, Jiang Xueping, Peng Xiang, Che Rui

Photography : Shao Feng – Sun Mao Architecture Photography