Sinan Books is located at No. 517, Fuxing Middle Road in a European-style villa built in 1926. It is currently part of the Sinan Mansions and used to be the former residence of Feng Yuxiang, a well-known patriotic general. The famous poet Liu Yazi also once called this historic estate home. This area of the city near Fuxing Middle Road and Sinan Road saw its most prosperous time in the 1930’s, when a group of Shanghai celebrities resided here. Sinan Books may have inherited the spirits of the cultural icons who once dwelled in and around its walls and the times in which they lived. Perhaps a bookstore is the best way to pay homage to the unique cultural heritage of this century-old building.
As a person who grew up in the area, I have a deep affinity for Shanghai’s ‘Shikumen’ and its old European style houses. The sycamore trees out of the windows, the sound of footsteps on the wooden stairs and floor, still surface in my dreams. These memories and fantasies overlap at different times to form another reality. Compared with other buildings, Sinan Books is not hugely spacious and doesn’t have amazing visual impact, but its spatial organisation and functionality are where its appeal lies. My piece is inspired by the sound of feet stepping on wooden stairs on different floors. Its rhythm grows with the building and it connects people, time and the city.