Tea room is the space that best interpret Oriental philosophy. Tea drinking embodies Chinese people’s philosophy of life, and the space that accommodates this activity carries cultural significance and spiritual value beyond its function.
For this project, Scene Architects conveys Oriental life philosophy by the creation of a physical space. The design team introduces nature into the interior, allowing visitors to experience space and time while wandering around. The project also explores the expression of traditional culture in a contemporary context.
▼项目概览，Preview © 任东
The door is a poetic world.
It is in the past and the future.
As we cross over,
We experience life.
— Hu Wei, Founder of Scene Architect
Throughout history, people have been craving for a spiritual retreat. In the context of fast-changing and boisterous contemporary life, this project creates a space that represents the Oriental philosophy of life, and shows a return to tradition and a new interpretation of modern life.
▼茶室入口，Entrance © 任东
The space is separated from the outside hustle and bustle by a rather thick door. Behind the closed door, the guests are taken to a journey transcending the earthly world.
When the door closes, the space transforms into a ‘mountain’, bringing about a spiritual retreat for the guests.
▼茶室入口门扇由钢板与火山岩石构建，厚重的质感为开启进入的过程带来了一种别样的仪式感，The entrance door of the tea room is made of steel plate and volcanic rock © 任东
The wall is a mountain.
I built a space about mountains,
because everyone has a mountain in his heart.
The mountain stands between heaven and earth,
hidden in the heart.
It is a challenge to oneself.
Life only goes on and on,
measuring the strength of scales with our feet.
Every time one crosses,
it stirs up a subtle vision in the heart.
— Hu Wei, Founder of Scene Architect
▼入口楼梯，Stairwell at the entrance © 任东
Two walls erect on the stairwell at the entrance, with shimmering light shedding from above. The monument-like structures and the central axis make one feel as if standing on a ‘mountain’.
▼楼梯间细节，Stairwell detailed view © 任东
To see the ‘mountain’ behind the ‘closed door’ is not so much a state as a symbolism. The wall separates the space from the mundane world, leaving the inside quiet and free, as if in a mountain.
The walls seem to be separate, nevertheless open different paths for ‘climbing the mountain’. Rambling around in the space gives one the pleasure of exploration. The slightly oppressive front area is a prelude to the open, surprising experience at the later stage of the ‘journey’.
▼“深山”，The ‘mountain’ © 任东
▼路径，Route © 任东
Road is an important component
of our design experiment in this architectural space.
The existence of road,
allows us to gain different memories and experiences.
A way to reach different worlds.
— Hu Wei, Founder of Scene Architect
As exploring ‘amongst the mountain’, the paths and doors appear to be extended by the scenery and light. Multiple tentative paths are created, so that visitors are free to linger or proceed in a roundabout way.
▼“山间”光影，Sunlight in the mountain © 任东
There is no clear direction in the space, leaving room for freedom and exploration. Like the road of life, as we cannot foresee the next journey, we might as well enjoy the present moment and savor the view along the way.
▼路径，Road © 任东
Rustic materials including volcanic rocks, concrete, iron handrails and rubbles are used to construct the space through contemporary techniques. The natural light from above and the gentle sound of running water make the guests feel like exploring amongst a mountain.
Every person who enters this space may have different experience. The design team hopes to convey their reflection on ‘freedom’ through an undefined experience.
▼质朴的材质以当代的手法构建，Rustic materials are used to construct the space through contemporary techniques © 任东
The second floor is highlighted by greenery, which connects the space closely with nature.
▼二层主空间，The main space on the second floor © 任东
Grass planted beside the corridor is connected to the miniature waterscape at the entrance, which nourishes the greenery uninterruptedly. The water system is more than just stagnant water, but symbolizes a stream flowing through the ‘mountain’.
▼走道，The corridor © 任东
▼水系，Water system © 任东
▼景观细节，Landscape detail © 任东
A dynamic rhythm is formed by the ‘clear pond’ and the ‘mountain stream’. The water system in the space bubbles up a fantastic experience.
People, water and scenery converge in the space, leaving behind the fast pace and restraint of daily life. Pacing about leisurely, the mind is stripped of burden and deeply calmed.
▼水景，Waterscape © 任东
Confined to a room, but not confined by the heart.
Simplicity blends the ancient and the modern. Time produces elegance.
The four tea rooms on the second floor possess distinctive charm. The two traditional tea rooms are enclosed by antique-style wooden grille doors, featuring a strong sense of layering and a tranquil ambience.
▼茶室，Tea room © 任东
▼油画 – 胡玮，Oil painting by Hu Wei © 任东
The tea room located on the circulation loop formed by corridors is like ‘a pavilion in the garden’. The shimmering light penetrating the grilles interacts with the shadows and grass, forming a charming scene without disturbing each other.
▼“园中一亭”，“A pavilion in the garden” © 任东
Another traditional tea room is connected to the courtyard, without any sophisticated decorations or eye-catching colors. The simplicity and purity leave the tea room to people, objects and scenery.
▼茶室内景，Tea room interior view © 任东
The greenery and breeze of the courtyard enter the room through the door. With a solitary lamp, a collection of books, a ray of moonlight, and a cup of fragrant tea, the space invites people to sit and enjoy inner peace.
▼面向庭院的茶室，Tea room facing the courtyard © 任东
The paintings, furniture, antiques, collections and tea in the room are mostly beloved possessions of the owner. The simple space gives way to showcase these pleasant and elegant objects, and reproduces traditional aesthetics in a contemporary way.
▼屏风-墨痕，The screen © 任东
▼室内陈设，Interior detail © 任东
With the passage of time, the furnishings of the tea room may change in accordance with the owner’s taste, but the quiet and simple tone of the space will remain unchanged, conveying the owner’s philosophy of life.
▼拓片-星汉斋，Artwork © 任东
The activity of tea drinking has undoubtedly been enriched with new forms in contemporary times. In the other two tea rooms, the design team incorporated a contemporary lifestyle.
The classical tea table set by the window allows one to sit in front of it or to lie down and listen to the rain. This relaxing way of tea drinking is more adapted to contemporary people’s leisure preferences. Here, drinking tea is not only a traditional ritual, but also a way of gaining inner tranquility and a relaxing experience of meeting and communicating with friends.
▼窗边茶床，Tea table by the window © 任东
▼茶室细节，Detailed view © 任东
Plant trees to build a courtyard, attract birds to settle down.
Changing light and shadows in four seasons are collected in a small space.
The courtyard connecting with the teahouse helps to bring nature into the interior space. It offers a venue for one to sit and meditate quietly, or talk with others while sipping a cup of tea. It provides a rare natural view in the urban concrete jungle. The sunrise and moonlight, the lush plants, and the chirping of insects and birds, calm the inner mind and obtain the harmonious coexistence between man and nature.
▼庭院，Courtyard © 任东
The tree, the waterscape and the building structures produce a ‘boundless’ spatial atmosphere in the small courtyard.
▼庭院景观，Courtyard landscape © 任东
The courtyard is formed by plain materials such as barks, bamboo, elm wood and stones, which will reveal a charming sense of antiquity as time passes.
Through the courtyard, the design is intended to expresses not only the dimension of the physical space, but also the perspective of time. Our spiritual world changes over time, and our mood varies at every stage of life.
▼庭院材料细节，Material © 任东
Isolated from the bustling outside world, the courtyard offers a calming, immersive experience that purifies the mind. People are able to experience nature and time in the courtyard, and mediate to obtain inner peace in the room.
The design team created physical experience in the space through simple, restrained yet sensitive expressions. Doors, walls, rooms and the courtyard are connected and combined to shape an exploratory spatial environment. Meanwhile, light, shadows, sky, earth, nature and water endow the space with spirit. With the sun rising and setting, flowers blooming and leaves falling, people can feel the passage of time here, and experience a contemporary Oriental lifestyle. By creating a ‘secluded mountain’, the space provides a spiritual retreat.
▼平面图，Plan © 现场建筑工作室
项目摄影：任东 乔治 苏娇 王勇峰（见筑Studio）
画作：屏风-墨痕 油画-胡玮 拓片-星汉斋
品牌：SAVOIA涂料 万盛石业 梵品木饰面 潋光照明
余庵古美术 恒盛明清家具 北欧表情
材料：钢板 火烧木 混凝土 火山岩 树皮 竹竿 榆木 石头
Project name: Teahouse in Chengdu
Location: Chengdu, China
Start/completion year: 2021/2022
Project area: 700 square meters
Chief designer: Hu Wei
Design firm: Scene Architect
Contact email: email@example.com
Construction execution & techniques: Ma Shizhong
Photography: Jian Zhu Studio/ Ren Dong, George, Su Jiao, Wang Yongfeng
Paintings: Screen – Ink Marks, Oil painting – Hu Wei, Rubbings – Xing Han Zhai
Material suppliers: SAVOIA (coatings), Wan Sheng (stones), Fanpin (wood veneers), Lian Guang (lighting fixtures), Yu’an Ancient Fine Art (paintings), Heng Sheng (classical furniture), Norhor (furnishings)
Main materials: steel plate, charred wood, concrete, volcanic rock, bark, bamboo pole, elm wood, stone