중국의 차 문화는 11세기 이전 당나라 왕조로 거슬러 올라가는 오래된 역사를 가지고 있다. 이후 전통 찻집은 중국의 도시와 마을에서 차뿐만 아니라 휴식과 오락을 누리는 장소로서의 공통적 인 정착물이 되었다. 이번에 소개하는 현대식 식당은 전통적 또는 미니멀리즘적인 미적 감각을 지니고 있지만, 건축가와 디자이너가보다 독창적이고 혁신적인 렌즈를 통해 찻집 개념에 접근하고 있다. 19세기 중반 식민지 시대의 유적지 건물에 자리하여 차 농장의 언덕에서 영감을 받아 설계된 이 곳은 미묘한 사치와 현대적인 세련미의 조각 공간을 창출했다.
China’s tea culture has a long-standing history that dates back to the Tang dynasty, more than eleven centuries ago. Since then traditional teahouses have become a common fixture in Chinese cities and villages as a place for drinking tea, relaxation and entertainment. While the contemporary establishments usually adhere to a traditional or minimalist aesthetic, it is always refreshing to see architects and designers approaching the concept of a teahouse through a more creative and innovative lens, as is the case for Icha Chateau’s new flagship restaurant and tea bar in Shanghai. Housed in a mid-19th century colonial heritage building in a newly developed outdoor shopping district, local architecture and interior design practice Spacemen have found inspiration in the rolling hills of tea plantations to create a sculptural space of subtle luxury and modern sophistication.
The stern sensibility of the immaculately renovated exterior of the heritage building belies the wondrous playfulness of the interiors but the designers have artfully incorporated a few hints of what lies inside. Angled brass slats elegantly framing the glazed arches provide shading from the midday sun but also bestow upon the brick facades as sense of understated opulence. Likewise, the swirling, teapot-like structure that fronts the outdoor tea bar adds a dash of flair to the sedate pedestrian area while at night it becomes a dazzling beacon of light.
In the main dining area, guests are seated below a sublime, gleaming canopy made out of 35,000 meters of gold chains that form a series of undulating planes; the disembodied landscape is an allusion to the scenic topography of endless rolling hills where tea is cultivated. Varying in hue from gold to bronze to copper, the organic shapes create an ethereal grotto enhanced by the strategically placed mirror behind the banquet seating, which also gives a sense of spaciousness to the otherwise narrow space, and the wavy line of illuminated brass orbs by UK designer Lee Broom.