“Opening” is the first thing we did for the space. We opened the façade and left 1/3 of the space completely connected with the outdoor. We hope that the guests can feel the story of the interior and see our tea gardens and products at first sight. It was our first attempt to use U-shaped glass for the façade. The texture of the glass itself allowed us to see the mottled image of the indoor, which feels like the oil painting.

Name: théATRE
Concept: A “Modern Tea Ceremony House”
Idea and key words: A surreal tea garden
Gross Built Area: 135 m2
Address: 404C, 4th Floor, East Block, Wangfu Central, 269 Wangfujing Street, Beijing
Client: théATRE
Design team: Sò Studio
Design director: Yifan Wu, Mengjie Liu
Space designer: Elbe Huang
Lighting design: Archi in-light design inc.
Image Production: MUYI Concept+ Production
Photographer: Yuhao Ding, Elbe Huang
Furniture brand: Cassina; MatzForm; Sancal
Lighting brand: &tradition

theATRE By So Studio - Sheet6
©Elbe Huang

The façade opens to expose the white streamers of the indoor tea garden, forming a shared tea garden space that strengthens the dialogue between the inside and the outside. From the outside, the white streamers are integrated into the interior, and the warm light also keeps the entire visual center in the tea garden. When you look into the blurred image, the unreal virtual shadow makes people want to walk in immediately.

theATRE By So Studio - Sheet7
©Elbe Huang

The first thing we see inside our space should be the “orange” white space. Our lighting used a color temperature of 2700k. Some key areas even used a 2200k color temperature light source. The warm amber color creates a sense of intimacy. From the design point of view, the space we hope for is holistic, simple, and advanced; it does not distract people’s attention with colors.

Four different white textures make the relationship between spaces stand out naturally. Three kinds of white stones strengthen the space’s calmness and simplicity through different tones and reflections; while the exterior curtain and the white metal streamer form the strongest contrast. We have created a 20% sense of distance and created a 50% sense of intimacy. The inexplicit relationship makes the surreal genes of the space deeply rooted in people’s heart.

theATRE By So Studio - Sheet8
©Elbe Huang

We clearly remember such a dialogue in the design field, “When you see the studio of Constantin Brancusi, how do you feel? I can’t tell the sculptures scattered around, I want to walk in and see the surface of each sculpture, and I feel like each one quite similar. The light of the skylight gives each sculpture a shadow.” It is the sculpture of Brancusi that inspired our installation. Different geometric sculptures bring some edges and fun to the space.

theATRE By So Studio - Sheet9
©Elbe Huang

The bar is connected to the VIP room at the other end of the space. We tried to create a more PURE area in the bar area, which would enhance the independent feeling of the space; the VIP room is on the right side of the bar, the feeling of the entrance also continued the feeling of semi-opening of the façade.

We made a special lighting design in order to create surprises to the guests. The color-changing lighting control allows this “theatre” to change into another scene after 8 o’clock every day.

Sò Studio

Sò Studio is an innovative architecture interior and industry design practice based in Shanghai. The commissions including restaurants, retail spaces, workspaces, galleries, private residential, boutique hotels and cultural institutions.

Sò Studio uses a bespoke approach for each client, applied imagination in the creative industries. With intellectual rigour to create inspiring places with a powerful visual impact.

Sò Studio was founded in 2016 by Yifan Wu and Mengjie Liu, in response to the growing demand for their distinctive design aesthetic and clever use of material details in an architectural, interior and industry design context.


Rethinking The Future (RTF) is a Global Platform for Architecture and Design. RTF through more than 100 countries around the world provides an interactive platform of highest standard acknowledging the projects among creative and influential industry professionals.

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