Interior Designers: Yatofu Creatives
- Area: 80 m²
- Year: 2021
Manufacturers: Menu, Wienerberger, &Tradition, PERGO, Takt, Tikkurila
- Design Team: Angela Lindahl, Yihan Xiang, Sheen Tao
- Set Design & Styling: Piia Emilia
- City: Helsinki
- Country: Finland
Text description provided by the architects. Teemaa is a teahouse situated in the center of downtown Helsinki, established by a pair of founders who are passionate in bringing tea culture to a country known for its highest of consumption of coffee in the world. When tasked with the complete redesign of Teemaa’s branding and teahouse interior, Yatofu Creatives took it as an opportunity to delve into the stories embedded in the craft of tea-making and create a brand and space which allows people from all walks of life to experience and explore the culture of tea.
With a strong emphasis on sourcing ethically and forming close relationships with their suppliers, Teemaa’s products are curated to represent their commitment to honesty, transparency, and quality. In defining the concept of Teemaa’s branding and interior to reflect these values, Yatofu wanted to reference both the rawness of tea as an ingredient, as well as reflect the sophistication and complexity of the tea through modern and refined lenses. A grounded palette of honest and textural materials was extracted from those used in the process of tea-making itself, such as weathered steel, textured bricks and wooden surfaces. These were reinterpreted into a contemporary space through the use modern forms, with a focus on handmade qualities to create a visual dialogue which speaks to the markings of time and craftsmanship.
It was also important for both Yatofu and the clients that environmental responsibility was prioritized in designing the space, leading to many definitive material and production decisions. In the sourcing and production process, one of the main goals was to eliminate an excess of off-cuts or leftover materials. Towards this goal, material quantities were calculated meticulously, excess bricks were recycled, and metal fixtures were oxidized postfabrication to avoid unusable discarded offcuts. In the retail section of the teahouse, large wooden columns serve as support for the wall shelves are hand-crafted with live-edged seams running down the outer faces, creating both a layer of nuanced detail as well as allowing maximum usage of the planks.
While the overall atmosphere of the interior was designed to create a calm yet sleek sanctuary, Yatofu Creatives wanted to embed an element of playfulness and approachability into the brand itself. The overall visual identity, including the product packing, utilizes bright and sophisticated colors, paired with playful hand-drawn shapes over a neutral and minimal black base. In combining the refreshing brand visuals with the raw yet refined interior, Teemaa Teahouse offers its customers a warm and approachable interpretation of contemporary tea culture for the Nordic lifestyle.