The Rabbit Hole is a fresh take on the concept of tea house
The interior concept of traditional tea houses is extremely cliched: it covers either a Japanese-inspired, deliberately minimal space of zen, often misinterpreted and operating only half-heartedly in Western cultures, or, it carries a sense of grandma-aesthetic with vintage-y laced curtains, pastel tablecloths, mismatched floral porcelain, and a generally artificial sense of nostalgia. Upon hearing the name The Rabbit Hole - Organic Tea Bar, one immediately pictures the second type, a space inspired by classic children’s stories and comforting fairy-aesthetics. Luckily, in this case we could not be any more wrong; the Sydney-based tearoom has nothing hole-like about it, as it is a clear and bright spot celebrating contemporary, human design. Instead of relying on what one would mean under the traditional concept of the tea house, designer Matt Woods was rather informed by the third wave speciality coffee houses, and translated their popularity to celebrate a healthier option, organic tea.
Rather than covering it up, the former industrial space’s raw beauty got exposed, namely the polished concrete floor, the herringbone strutted wood ceiling, and the original brick walls. In order to avoid creating a severely cold and masculine atmosphere, he used white paint extensively, and coupled it with maximising incoming natural light as well as artificial led lighting. Moving further away from the industrial track, the warm centuries-old oak furniture is upholstered in rich leather and textile.
As a human touch, the counter and the walls feature broken ceramic tiles, a modest way of remembering the Japanese roots behind tea consumption. Kintsugi is a Japanese concept of celebrating imperfection, covering the technique of joining broken porcelain pieces by gold. The tradition reappears more overtly in the showroom section of the room, where the various teas are presented in Kintsugi-style bowls sitting on oak poles. This way, Woods managed to take a subtly traditional reference while creating a fresh, surprisingly contemporary tea room.
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