CUN Design, a Chinese design firm, took a contemporary outlook on traditional oriental architecture while designing a special space dedicated to the sale and drinking of tea for WILLchá’s flagship store in Beijing. For generations, tea has played a significant role in c. By revamping the brand’s image, WILLchá and CUN Design both hope to make it more appealing to younger consumers. Aesthetic innovation is connected to the fresh perspective of healthy teas that WILLchá wishes to promote. The store has strong geometric shapes, and a green and yellow color palette that represents the brand’s corporate image: nature and purity. 

Interiors for Tea Flagship Store like "A Movie Scene" in China designed by CUN Design - Sheet1
WILLchá Flagship Tea Store designed by CUN Design_©Jia Bin, Si You

Concept

With a history spanning more than 5,000 years, tea has its origins in China’s Shennong dynasty and has grown significantly since the Tang and Song dynasties. Today, the traditional form of tea has become a distant memory for people. Meanwhile, tea brand WILLchá aimed to revitalize its brand identity with an aesthetic makeover. When compared to other milk teas on the market, WILLchá’s products stand apart since all of their raw ingredients are made from organic tea leaves. Their approach centers on preparing tea using science and enjoying it healthily.  On conduction of research and analysis of the target market, it was discovered that the millennial and Gen-Z generations make up their largest audience.CUN Design believes that space planning should fit operational management while creating a visual form of space that matches the acceptance of target users. Therefore, CUN made a completely innovative attempt in the space based on preserving and marketing the brand appeal of WILLchá, “leading the healthy lifestyle of contemporary young people.”

Interiors for Tea Flagship Store like "A Movie Scene" in China designed by CUN Design - Sheet2
WILLchá Store with their ‘brand’ new aesthetic_©Jia Bin, Si You

Spatial Features

Although the WILLchá flagship shop is only a small space, it has multiple levels of spatial expression. In the layout of the design, the 100 square meters of space was divided into a composite commercial body with nine spatial functions using the geometric composition approach. The facility includes a staff kitchen, storage area, and lounge area in addition to an ordering area, eating area, DIY tea-making station, customer service station, tea display area, and retail space.

Interiors for Tea Flagship Store like "A Movie Scene" in China designed by CUN Design - Sheet3
WILLchá Store Plan_©CUN Design
Interiors for Tea Flagship Store like "A Movie Scene" in China designed by CUN Design - Sheet4
WILLchá Store Axonometric Exploded Layout_©CUN Design

Description of the space by the Architects themselves- “The feeling of attraction to these magical geometric forms in the space is very intense. Your mind jumps out of the land and comes to the immense universe. In front of you, there are vast rivers of stars. Looking back, you can see a picture like a movie scene: the girl like a visitor from the sky quietly sitting there, bathing in the slightly yellowish light, silently telling the story of the whole space.” The whole experience is very serene, mysterious, and movie-like. 

Entering through the central passage, a touch of green is visible which is used as the theme color in the space, thus determining the first impression of Willchá. The transition from the low-height green grid-like structures to the inside with a high ceiling creates a striking contrast between the inside and the exterior. The continuity of the materials and colors preserves the spatial coherence, and the dramatic shift in heights inspires infinite imagination about the space, prompting visitors to feel enlightened as they ascend the steps from the outside to the interior.

Starting from where the walls and ceiling meet, the green contoured top surface rises like a massive leaf from 2.8 to 5.5 meters above the ground, precisely aligning with the light source at its highest point. The room appears to be full of layers and has three-dimensionality thanks to the cold light at the top and the warm light that is emitted by the light strips around it.

Interiors for Tea Flagship Store like "A Movie Scene" in China designed by CUN Design - Sheet5
The entrance to the store with a touch of green visible_©Jia Bin, Si You
Interiors for Tea Flagship Store like "A Movie Scene" in China designed by CUN Design - Sheet6
Giant leaf meeting the light source at the highest point perfectly_©Jia Bin, Si You

Material Innovation

All of the furniture and wall surfaces are constructed of light grey oak veneer, which looks opulent and inviting when lit by warm interior lighting. The highly reflective flooring material is black terrazzo, which reflects the entire area. The foot is a stone, the side of the body is wood, and the top of the head is a leaf. The purported “being amid the grass and trees” is a small area that portrays the vastness of nature. Together with the lights on the shelves, the ceiling’s luminous square creates the illusion of a leaf, illuminating the middle of the room.

Interiors for Tea Flagship Store like "A Movie Scene" in China designed by CUN Design - Sheet7
Reflective Terrazzo is the stone, with the shelves as the wood and the ceiling as the leaf_©Jia Bin, Si You

The designers included oriental elements into the space, and the entire exterior of the room mimics architecture with similar aesthetics, full of mystery and cosmopolitanism, echoing WILLchá’s motto, “Oriental light tea.” The horizontal grille at the top of the door entry, below the lightbox, appears to be derived from the “eaves” architectural element, however, the turning and junctions are unconnected. The disjointed form gives the design a distinctive style and establishes the brand’s long-term visual identity.

The concept of the oriental “folding fan” served as the inspiration for the pillar-holding glass at the entryway and the folded internal surface of the wall display system. To ensure that the same material and performing elements are used throughout all of the wall displays, a cogent method was used to coordinate them. Unique designs, such as an “acrylic U-shaped frame,” have also been added to the elevation to make it stand out from other walls while remaining cohesive, stunning, and pure. The creative elevation system carries out cultural conception and distribution in addition to forming negative space, producing a three-dimensional sensation of light and shadow, and demonstrating material opacity.

Eave like Horizontal grille at the entrance_©Jia Bin, Si You

Through this project, the architects wanted to convey that modernity can be used to understand tradition and express the future. This design seeks to enhance the bond between “Generation Z” and “Tea,” let more young people experience and taste the distinct allure of oriental culture, and establish new consumption and lifestyles for contemporary young groups.

References:

    1. Metalocus. 2022. MODERNITY TO REVISIT THE PAST. WILLCHÁ FLAGSHIP STORE BY CUN DESIGN. [online] Available at: <https://www.metalocus.es/en/news/modernity-revisit-past-willcha-flagship-store-cun-design> [Accessed 11 July 2022].
  • World Architecture Community. 2022. CUN Design designs interiors for tea flagship store like ‘a movie scene’ in China. [online] Available at: <https://worldarchitecture.org/article-links/enhev/cun-design-designs-interiors-for-tea-flagship-store-like-a-movie-scene-in-china.html> [Accessed 17 June 2022].
Author

Rishima is a fifth year architecture student currently interning in Pune. She is an avid reader and occasionally blurts out coherent thoughts. She believes creating an equitable space for all and providing a uniform experience regardless of gender, sexual preferences, age, abilities, class and caste is the responsibility of each architect.

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