An abandoned factory in Shanghai’s art district of Moganshan Road got a new lease of life when local architecture studio Linehouse turned it into a splendid teahouse. The 450-sqm space has been designed to reflect the sensibilities of the Chinese tea culture, which regards tea drinking as ceremonious, an act where tea is not just consumed but experienced in its full flavour.
“The client, a tea enthusiast, sought to create a traditional Chinese teahouse with modern aesthetics,” said the design team. Teahouses are mostly private rooms where people gather to meet to refresh minds and clear thoughts. Traditional teahouses foster the tea ritual where from its meticulous preparation to its aroma, the colour and flavour is savoured over a course of few hours.
Despite it being a dilapidated space, the designers saw the potential of keeping the old factory’s identity alive with bare minimum interventions. “The existing space was stripped back to its raw state, exposing the patina of the concrete structure and the old brick walls and ceiling. An existing mezzanine was removed to expose a double height space with high level clerestory windows,” they explained.
A floating staircase held by a striking green metal structure, and white nougat terrazzo lining its floor and walls, welcome the visitors to the teahouse.
The Shanghai-based studio has stacked a series of teahouses with shifting roof lines at either end of the double height space. The lower level teahouses are designed with a low glass horizon that offers visitors privacy at eye level, while other elevated teahouses are entirely cladded in glass. Darkened stainless steel wraps the lower level teahouses, whose brushed surface emits a blurred reflection of the surrounding space. These private chambers rest on an elevated green terrazzo landscape, which allows guests to inhabit the recessed seating within. The interiors are cladded in smoked oak to reflect that same atmosphere of simplicity, warmth and comfort as one experiences in a traditional teahouse.
The designers have played with multiple levels of privacy and a rich material palette of grey, green and brown, to create both open and semi-open spaces that turn drinking tea into a pleasurable experience. The rest of the space doubles up as a space to host events for flower arranging and temporary art exhibitions.
Name of the project: Tingtai Teahouse
Location: Shanghai, China
Area: 450 sqm
Year of completion: 2018