théATRE tea shop and pastry bakery is a small project characterized by a curved hand-made ceiling created by folding steel sheets into a unique piece by local artisans. This large art-piece creates a recessed void moving inwards the shop facade due to its sculptural effect and it opens up like a theatrical stage to the public.
Design is informed by the values behind théATRE, a young “tea bakery” store with few selling points in Beijing and Shanghai, that is devoted in offering cakes, pastry, food and pottery products strongly connected to tea and the whole imaginary that moves around it in a contemporary, fresh and innovative way. Due to the limited dimension of the space, layout is simple in plan, but it offers some interesting elements in the vertical elevation. It is in fact divided into three different levels.
The upper level is dominated by the sculptural roof: the sinuous and dynamic shape of the ceiling surface resembles the movement of large water drops in the very moment before they become tea, creating interesting reflections of materials, colors and light.
The middle level features simple and minimal lines and it is dedicated to what the shop has to offer. In the background, a large glazed window shows the making-of process of cakes in the exposed kitchen lab, while customers can find products on the shelves placed on both sides. The idea here is to express cleanliness, efficiency and attention to details. Pastry making process has lots of similarities with chemical lab, and we tried to express this attention to precision, innovation and research by designing the exposed kitchen as a very clean and white laboratory space. Main materials are brushed stainless steel and white glossy ceramic tiles from Italian producer IMOLA, characterized by soft diamond patterns that make the light reverberate on their surface, and that will add at the same time a domestic touch of country-house feeling.
The lower level of the shop is dedicated to customers’ experience and interaction. The same color scheme of steel and white is extended to this area, with an addition of marble to enhance the material quality of the retail atmosphere. Main front bar functions are organized as two solid marble boxes, where customers can choose sweeties from the generous fridge display or enjoy the view of tea-making ceremony while waiting at the cashier. Local “dream blue” marble from China, which presents a typical sugar-like granular porosity making its color slightly change according to the light intensity, has been selected for this area. Same marble has been used also to define the entrance gate above the shop facade, the shape of which is the direct projection of the cutting section on curved ceiling and was originally meant to resemble the shape of tea hills landscape.
In addition to the shop space, théATRE store will offer to its customers a little patio space outside. Plants in concrete pots and custom-made system of curve soft sofa benches are defining the main layout, inspired by the idea of tea-terraced hills where customers can freely move in-between. Little marble tables and bluish-hued chairs from ARPER are completing the whole seating offer.
Design by RAMOPRIMO
Architects: Marcella Campa, Stefano Avesani
Project team: Zhao Xinyi 赵心怡, Giacomo Squaquara, Wang WenWen 王雯雯, Huo Ran 霍燃, Du Huayu杜华钰
Photographer: Marcella Campa