Tingtai Teahouse


Tingtai Teahouse is located in a former textile factory space and art gallery in Shanghai’s art district of Moganshan Road. The client, a tea enthusiast, sought to create a traditional Chinese teahouse with a modern aesthetic. The design by Linehouse focuses on a play of private and public. A series of private rooms, in which friends can gather to chat and enjoy the ritual of tea, each offer their own individual spatial experiences.

Thirteen teahouses were inserted into the space. In the double-height area, they are stacked and framed at either end with full-height glass, offering views and natural light from the windows above. Each teahouse has a different roofline, and all occupy the space not unlike pieces in a puzzle: dipping here to accommodate a structural beam, extending there to capture natural light.

The teahouses are clad externally with brushed, darkened stainless steel, emitting a blurred reflection of what’s around them. Internally they are clad with smoked oak, which creates simple and warm interiors. At the lower level, a glass horizon frames each teahouse interior, providing differing levels of privacy depending on the seating height. Three elevated teahouses are fully glazed, giving guests a more voyeuristic experience. Three other rooms at the rear are fully enclosed.

The teahouses rest on a green terrazzo landscape that, along with a fine green-painted metal structure for the floating entrance staircase, extends out to the street to create the teahouse facade. The green terrazzo operates not only as a floor finish, but also, potentially, as a surface for sitting.

Photography: Dirk Weiblen.