A sketch of tea culture through contrasts
In China, tea is more than a beverage.
It is a cultural heritage.
Tea has been out of fashion among young people for quite some time. For businesses in the teasector, how to breathe new life into tea and attract people's interest to understand and consumeit has become a priority. How to win over young people? In other words, how to attract them?
Designer: EK Design
"Create conflicts and contrasts to induce interest"
PURE NFTEA is a tea brand situated in C Future City, Futian District, Shenzhen. Owned by a youngentrepreneur whose family has been in the tea business for decades, with their own teaplantation and factory, the brand's name "PURE" is a transliteration of "Pu'er". As a youngindividual, the client hopes to interpret tea culture in a fresh way, challenge young people'sperceptions of Chinese tea, introduce tea to the younger generation, and establish a trendy teabeverage brand that appeals to them.
Every scenario is a dramatic narrative.
"We aim to let tea culture speak to young people rather than asking them to learn about it."Tothat end, EK Design creatively reinterpreted the space by renovating the spatial layout andcombining new ideas with old structures. By making use of the terroir of tea, the design team alsotransformed traditional spatial experiences and created a dynamic conflict that appeals toyounger generations and engages them in tea culture."
The space is comprised of both indoor and outdoor areas, both of which have a triangularhorizontal plane. In terms of spatial relations, the tea store and the shopping mall where it sitsmutually attract traffic. Therefore, the designers faced more challenges in creating anindependent style, but also had more freedom to put inspiration into practice, which means"more openness, freedom, and creativity".
Go with the flow
Make use of the existing conditions rather than hiding them.
"How should we present the space? What perspective should we take? What more can the designgenerate?" Bearing those questions in mind, EK Design chose to work with the existingconditions and approached the design in a natural manner.
To tackle the challenge of the acute triangle horizontal plane, which is considered a "negativespace" in architecture, the design team maximized the use of the space while minimizing thesense of narrowness.
First, the designers utilized the existing conditions by adding beams, which are parallel to thetriangle, to the existing columns and creatingnew decorative columns at the joints. The next stepwas creating passages out of the angles, thus making use of the corners.
In this way, an asymmetrical yet balanced frame was constructed on the horizontal plane,defining a new space in a deconstructivemanner.
One side of the triangle becomes a display and operation platform to keep the kitchen out ofsight. One side becomes the storefront and bar counter to connect with the public area of theshopping mall, and the other side is left open to connect with the outdoor space and embracenature.
Chinese Lego blocks—mortise-and-tenon structures, a flexible joint in architecture
"The Sun (tenon) and Mao (mortise) represent the Yang and Yin elements in Chinese philosophy.The changesin mortise-and-tenon structures reflect the evolution of Chinese architecture." Thedesign team used mortise-and-tenon structures as joints between beams and columns to createa flexible frame on the vertical dimension.
Rather than adopting the traditional array arrangement of mortise-and-tenon structures, thedesign team opted for an irregular structure in a deconstructive way. This resulted in anasymmetrical balance between the floor and elevation, infusing the space with a sense ofmodernity.
Beneaththe weathered and rough texture of the columns lies the source of lighting, symbolizingthe future and technology, and creating a stark contrast between the past and the future.
The beauty of calligraphy and painting lies in the spiritual connection, which cannot beachieved by merely the superficial form.
The tea mountain, enveloped in mist and drizzle, stands tall with its undulating outline. Lookingclosely at the painting amidst the tea fog, customers will see the beauty of traditionalChina inspring, with refreshing scenery and abundant vitality.
The painting is inspired by the "Along the River During the Qingming Festival" scroll, and featuresa contrasting blend of realistic and romantic elements. It incorporates three ancient paintings,namely,"Shanglin Park","Huishan Tea Party"and"Tea Extraction", and has been edited tocombine both modern ideology and traditional copper plate printing techniques.
This painting represents the romantic ideals of ancient Chinese culture throughits compositionand spatial arrangement, creating a sense of affinity and harmony within the space.
The terroir code hidden in Yiwu Tea Mountain
The red soil of Yiwu has a saturated color that resembles Pu'er tea. It is the perfect soil fornourishing Pu'er trees. In the project, the design team extracted the natural colors of both the soiland tea to showcase the unique terroir of Pu'er and the rich history of Chinese tea.
Weathered red soil has a mottled texture that gives off an ancient vibe. The red finishes replicatethe weathered fracture surface of the soil visually and tactilely. The black volcanic stone slabscreate an interesting contrast with the "red soil", depicting the ancient natural evolution process.
A city embraces its sunsets as well as its sunrises
The triangular outdoor space, enclosed by mortise-and-tenon modules, is connected to theindoor area. The low, flexible structures provide both seating and partitioning.
As the tea store incorporates innovative tea beverages and socializing functions, it's designedwith a variety of seating options. The bar seating seamlessly blends with the existing beams andcolumns, almost as if it's an extension of the environment. The asymmetrical booth structures are arranged in a harmonious manner, and tables are strategically placed in the corners to fully utilizethe space.
PURE NFTEA provides a welcoming and relaxed environment for all guests, whether they'reyoung people socializing with friends or seniors enjoying some quiet time alone. With spring justaround the corner, a visit to PURE NFTEA to experience the joy of tea brewing in the beautiful,sunny weather is highly recommended.