Dear Shaded Viewers,
One of the highlights of Beijing Design Week in Dashilar Alley–the wide hutong in the Qianmen area just south of Tiananmen Square–was the Wuhao Teahouse that popped-up in a decrepit abandoned building. Isabelle Pascal, the founder of the Wuhao Curated Shop on Mao’er Hutong in Dongcheng District, and her dedicated team transformed the house into a magical space that merged sleek, innovative design with the elegantly crumbling interior.
A view into the tea room. Wuhao partnered with socially responsible tea company Tranquil Tuesdays to offer a new vision of this traditional space.
Designer Huo Yijin created this thermo-lacquered tea table which turned hot water a vivid green when spilled on the surface.
Some teas from Tranquil Tuesdays. The Beijing-based company is, according to their press material, a social enterprise that provides occupational training, a support network and solid jobs for women who want to realize their full potential. Their teas have been personally sourced from small-scale select family-owned single-estate Chinese tea gardens from different corners of China where tea is still hand-picked and hand-processed as it has been for generations.
Nancy admires the delicate paper chandelier before we settled down for some tea.
Me admiring the wallpaper in the tea-drinking parlour. All of the symbols used in the wallpaper date back to China’s Tang Dynasty. Isabelle is considering launching a whole line of products with these patterns, from stationary to tableware, but when she spotted my tyvek paper sneakers which I bought in Berlin a few weeks ago, we mulled over plans of designing a series of tyvek sneakers in the various patterns. (I want one in each pattern so I can be the Imelda Marcos of tyvek sneakers.)
Isabelle Pascal shares a laugh with Nancy during our tea break.
Nancy contemplating her cup of Iron Goddess of Mercy Oolong Tea (tie guan yin) which is celebrated for its brightly aromatic and floral qualities.
I opted for the Organic Ancient Tree Raw Pu’er Tea, a 2005 vintage. It has an earthy, smoky, camphor flavor and is the choice of pu’er connoisseurs and discerning jet-setters in search of a transcendental energy boost.
22-year old graphic designer Nick Wu is responsible for creating the phenomenal wallpaper, which was presented with an ELLE DECOR Award during BJDW.
One of my favorite Wuhao pieces, this chair by Xiao Tian Yu combines a Western “Pouf” seat with the back of a Ming Dynasty chair. The rare yellow fruit hanging over the chair are nicknamed “fox faces.” They’re common in south China where they are used for good luck on Chinese New Year’s.
Me in the nearby Qianmen hutongs, which were festooned with Chinese flags for the upcoming holiday celebrating the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
Thanks for reading.
Wuhao Curated Shop in Mao’er Hutong
Beijing Design Week Opening Night in Dashilar Alley
Beijing Design Week at 751-D Park