TT TO THE TEA is a bubble tea store, neatly encaved inside a block of high-rise flats in Hangzhou, taking up two shops on the first floor. The owners has been in relationship for five years, and the girl is fond of bubble tea, so the boy want to open a bubble tea as a testimony of love for both of them.
The height of the store is seven meters, while the width is only 3.6 meters, so the space is quite long and dark, with a height-width ratio of nearly 2:1. So it seems pretty unfit to arrange or design the store by adopting the common practice for building a retailing shop, and problems would definitely ensue due to its unique space shape. Upon deliberation, we decided to turn it into a churchly bubble tea store. Firstly, The ratio of this space is feasible for that purpose, and lightings can be molded more controllable and accurately. Secondly, the holiness and sense of rite of passage that a church represents can add an another layer of preciousness and rosiness into their love. Thirdly, nowadays many retailing areas are designed in a way that is very often decorated and are designed to attract internet influencers and their followers, so we want to build a spiritual site stimulate people’s already numb senses in a world of consumerism, to recall people’s instinctive carving from within.
Our design is based on the prototype of churches. Through researches on traditional church space and overall understanding on the framework of the existing space, we extracted the arch structural element, and followed the symmetrical aesthetic and logic of churchly design, and created the ambiance of a church through extending, connecting or overlapping of the lightings.
The inside space is “L” shaped. The function of each part of the space is decided and arranged linearly. On the south and north axis, entrance hall, customer seats and an elevated platform, while on the west and east axis, cashier and steps, connecting to the second floor.
The Entrance hall serves more than a place to receive guests as a matter of routine, but at the same time, plays a transport transiting role. It feels more like a garden with the floor embedded with terrazzo and motley marble. The grain of them is a bit different from the stone used in traditional church, which give the space a sense of al fresco and vigor. The conceptual framework is that we set the cashier near the entrance, and before entering the inside of the church, one needs to pass through a podium before entering the inner section of the church.
For the seating area, also, conceptually, we intended to convert “a store” into “a place”, integrating the common pews in the church with the wall. By this, we hope conversations between customers and the place are motivated. We caved long slices on the side walls, and placed multicolor glasses. We used lights to simulate how the natural lights would do otherwise, through the glasses from outdoors.
Our main materials are multicolor glasses, crystal bricks, glass bricks, and with the company of lights, their characteristics are fully displayed, making the space more ceremonial.
At the end of the space there is an lifted area with a circular seating space. Beneath it, there is a water circulating system and mist making machine. Above it, was sparkles of lights, representing heaven. The backdrop wall has a big encaved four-color glass-made letter “T”, standing for the name of this store. The lights are gathered and scattered from here, and the lights appear to endow the pure area a layer of spirituality.
Beneath the heaven, water and mist intertwines., Above the heaven, star and light resplendent.
The concept of “earth, human and heaven” is threaded through the long narrow church, as the entrance represents the “earth”, long bench area the “human”, lifted area the “heaven. We hope this store would become a place full of spirituality, rite of passage and inclusiveness for bubble tea lovers. And that is what a church offers.
JK DESIGN STUDIO
JK DESIGN STUDIO, presided by JK, was founded in 2018. It is a Hangzhou-based research-oriented creative design workshop, with focus ranging from furniture, interior decoration, architecture to urban design. It puts structure, space, material and light in the core of their design.