The project, THÉ LATITUDE, is situated at Fuzimiao Walking Street, a renowned tourist spot in Nanjing, China. Different from traditional Chinese tea stores, it's the first flavored tea boutique in the local area, which emphasizes the concept of "Tea from the World", carefully selects the finest tea worldwide, and utilizes advanced European tea flavoring techniques to make mild yet delicate tea.
Location: No.188, Gongyuan Street, Qinhuai District, Nanjing, China
Area: 60 sq.m.
Designers: Ha Da, Zhang Yufan
Photography: Ha Da
From the architect: Entrusted with the project, NA-DECO created an exotic atmosphere in the interior space, which breaks the stereotype of traditional Chinese tea stores, provides young people with more fashionable and elegant shopping experience and allows them to know about tea from all over the world in a more pleasant way.
The overall space is long and narrow, merely 3 meters in width, with a high ceiling, which may easily give people an oppressive feeling. In order to adjust the spatial scale, the designers drew inspirations from stone-cave houses in Cappadocia and added vaults to the space. Besides, they clad the junction area between the walls and the vaults with mirrors. Precisely cut and seamlessly installed, the mirrors visually extend the vaults towards the sides, making the upper space appear to be more open and creating the illusion that there is another enchanting world beyond the walls. Referring to Cappadocia's stone-cave houses, the ceiling and walls were finished with beige plaster. Its soft color and rich textures, combined with the hidden lighting, set a classic tone within the space.
The sales space was divided into two areas, with the front area displaying the hot-selling tea products in season and the back area setting classic tea and tea ware out. At the middle of both areas, a black island counter was placed to display limited gift sets and guide the flow of customers. The main shelf on the right side was hung on the wall, making the narrow space light and flexible. It has a dark walnut color as well as clear and clean lines on the whole, with art-deco-style hanging pull handles and metal bars embedded in seams.
The shelf door panels were decorated with half-round wood sticks (with a diameter of 2 cm), which were obliquely and orderly arranged, with a distance of 2 mm between each and an inclination of 45 degrees. Those wood sticks were handmade by experienced craftsmen, precise yet delicate, which enhance the exquisiteness of the interior space and also show THÉ LATITUDE's ingenuity to create a long-lasting brand. In short, the main shelf subtly combines the classical and modern, endowing the products displayed on it with sophisticated characters.
Based on discussion, the client and the design team decided to choose purple as the brand color of THÉ LATITUDE, which was not only used on the packaging of some tea products but also boldly applied to the interior design. Purple is usually a synonym for "confident, romantic and classic", which fits in well with the new concept of "Drinking Tea in an Elegant Manner" advocated by THÉ LATITUDE. The floor tiles feature a pattern of Chinese-style auspicious clouds, with the densely-arranged arches echoing the vaults above. Paved from the entrance to the rim of the back area, those tiles add a warm and exotic ambience to the space.
China boasts the longest tea-drinking history in the world, but currently tea drinkers are mostly middle-aged and old males. With unique product forms and design language, THÉ LATITUDE hopes to integrate tea-drinking into younger consumers' daily life and make Chinese tea culture more diversified and interesting. Since opening, it has been widely lauded by customers, mainly consisting of young females and foreigners, which is a delightful response to the market positioning and design goals.
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