Apr 15, 2015

Small Tea Makes a Big Impact

Earlier this year, Portland-based Andee Hess of OsmoseDesign was on the ground at Art Basel Miami, reporting on the fair’s happenings and influences in a blog post for GRAY. More recently, just south of Miami in Coral Gables, Hess debuted Small Tea, a store, café, and retreat where guests can sip and shop for 84 teas from around the world. With a material palette inspired by by items used during the tea production process (abaca cloth used for drying tea, neutral brown and tan tones throughout), Small Tea includes a “scent station” where customers can smell and explore teas and tea blends, and custom lighting with ceramic elements courtesy of Portland’s Pigeon Toe Ceramics. Here in Seattle we’re known for our coffee obsession, but we’d gladly kick the caffeine for a chance to sip some tea in this calming and stylish sanctuary.

The oval “scent station” at Small Tea gives patrons a chance to smell and sample 84 teas from around the world. Shelves in the background display handmade copper tins for tea-tenders to dispense blends. 

In the lounge area above tables, chairs, and stools, ceiling boxes are wrapped in abaca cloth, a material used for drying tea. The patterning reflects the Small Tea logo, and, according to Hess, “creates a rhythmic shadowplay.” The feature was designed by Osmose and assembled and installed by Goldenwood in Miami. “I read a lot about the history of tea and harvesting process,” says Hess. “We explored the patterning that corresponded.” That study led to the uniquely textured ceiling details. 

Three steel rods with custom ceramic teacups by Pigeon Toe Ceramics use LED lighting to bring a soft glow to one corner of the store.

Images Courtesy of Ken Hayden.

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