China’s tea culture has a long-standing history that dates back to the Tang dynasty, more than eleven centuries ago. So Icha Chateau Elegantly Conjures the Magical Beauty of Chinese Countryside.
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.
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 a 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, that form a series of undulating planes; the disembodied landscape is an allusion to the scenic topography of endlessly rolling hills where tea is cultivated.
Meanwhile, the golden fantasia conjured by the suspended chain-curtains is complemented by the brass details of the chairs, tables, and other furnishings, while the grey terrazzo flooring, the muted hues of the upholstery and the matte black cabinetry provide a much needed visual respite without subtracting from the venue’s overall muted luxuriance. The result is a dream-like space of effortless sophistication that evocatively conjures in the middle of Shanghai the rural beauty of the Chinese countryside.
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