Shanghai – We previously shared some examples of the triumphant second coming of tea in traditional Asian markets that have been recently seduced by the call of third-wave coffee – notably, China. Add this project to the list: Linehouse’s newest proposal borrows the grandeur of the teahouses of the country’s past and adds a decidedly contemporary way of engaging with it.
At Tingtai, located in Shanghai’s Moganshan Road art district, customers can enjoy the brewing experience atop stripped-back teahouse treehouses and down in cave-like recesses. This clever up-and-down layout manages to bring privacy to a social ritual, and provides visual diversity to a large open venue – previously home to a factory, the 450 sq-m space with double height-ceilings pulls the trick of making its massiveness feel intimate.
To achieve that, the Linehouse team started by stripping back the building to reveal a set of high-level clerestory windows, which then dictated the positioning of the booths so as to seize natural light. And the booths themselves? Above, the architects stacked a series of teahouses clad in brushed darkened stainless steel, with shifting roof lines; below, in a nod to the sunken living rooms of midcentury fame, several caved-in seating areas are framed by a glass horizon.