Tea Box at Takishamaya New York

3,000 Square Feet

This combined café and retail space, created for the Fifth Avenue flagship location of the well-known Asian retailer, highlights a wide range of tea paraphernalia in a serene, tranquil setting.

The site, an existing below-grade storage space, had no access to natural light. In addition, the kitchen was located to one side, with ventilation diagonally opposite. To overcome these programmatic constraints, a “ring” of lowered ceiling was created containing the necessary ductwork; placed along the periphery, the primary central volume remained as high as possible.

A series of distinctive screens and partial height walls were designed to define, though not divide, the programmatic areas. To this end, they touch neither the ceiling nor each other; rather, they slip past, allowing space to flow unobstructed. The dramatic fabric ceiling reinforces the design intent; commencing within the dining area, it slides outward into the retail section, uniting the two zones.

Through the use of texture and shade, the restrained material palette further articulates the key areas. Lighter tones and rougher textures line the retail area, while darker, yet more reflective, materials envelope the dining space. As a dramatic focal point, the tea wall incorporates traditional Japanese storage tins, each custom wrapped in a slightly different delicate shade of rice paper to indicate the type of tea within. Through the combination of color and form, this carefully modulated wall encapsulates the subtle attention to detail evident throughout.

Tea Box at Takishamaya New York