Icha Chateau

During the design process, the client’s research team en route to one of their tea plantations were so captivated by the serene beauty and picturesque sceneries of the endless tea fields that Spacemen sought to embody that charm into the Icha Chateau store identity in Shanghai, China.

  • area / size 1,829 sqft
  • Year 2018
  • Location Shanghai, China,
  • Type Restaurant,
  • Housed in a mid-19th century colonial heritage building in a newly developed outdoor shopping district, Spacemen drew inspiration from the rolling hills of the brand’s very own tea plantations to create a sculptural space of subtle luxury and modern sophistication.

    Angled brass slats elegantly framing the glazed arches provide shading from the midday sun but also bestow upon the brick facades as sense of understated opulence. Likewise, the swirling, teapot-like structure that fronts the outdoor tea bar adds a dash of flair to the sedate pedestrian area while at night it becomes a dazzling beacon of light.

    Contrasting with the exterior which has mostly been left intact due to historic preservation guidelines, the interior has been completely transformed. Entering the main dining area through the bar, patrons transition from the old to the new. Once inside, approximately 35,000 meters of gold chains in 3 different shades make up the undulating sculpture-like planes. Each layer was meticulously carved to mimic the mountainous tea fields and to form niches for patrons with a need for privacy. It also masks a structural column that sits in the middle of the store turning it into the focal point that anchors the gold cloud. The soft nature of the chains allows patrons to touch and feel them. A strategically placed grey mirror behind the sofa seating reflects the gold waves giving diners a sense that they are dining under a forest canopy as well as enhancing the otherwise narrow site.

    An overall selection of muted material palette such as grey terrazzo, matte black stained timber and grey upholstery fabrics providing a sleek contrast to undulating structure above. The chains retain a sense a permeability yet also concealing all the technical equipment necessary for the store (eg; lighting, speakers, sprinklers, cameras, service doors). Brass arches and windows frames were carefully inserted around the façades of the building to create more indoor spaces from the exterior corridors.

    Design: Spacemen
    Photography: Chen Xuan Min