Kettl Tea Flagship / Michael Tower Architecture
Text description provided by the architects. Kettl Tea, importers of the finest teas from Japan, selected Michael Tower Architecture to transform a large retail loft space in Greenpoint Brooklyn, to house a café, ceramics studio, gallery, and headquarters. The goal of the renovation was to create a true flagship; a representation of the brand in the public-facing retail space while housing all the company’s operations.
Tea grinding and roasting are on display for the public to see. The ceramics exhibited in the café are thrown and fired in the cellar below. Visitors also get a view into the backspace that house their operations, inventory, and fulfillment.
The design of the café was inspired by the ceremonial tea structures of Japan imagined through a modern lens of materials. At the façade, a new maple and glass service window welcome visitors from the street. The surrounding white stucco façade introduces the guests to a bright and warm interior. Upon entry, the guest’s view is directed toward a monumental 14 foot (426 cm) cast in place concrete bar at the rear of the space. A recessed cut-out in the bar countertop holds a steaming tea kettle and sets up an important focus of the tea service.
At the center of the café sits a custom maple table with seating where guests can sit together and enjoy tea and a selection of matcha treats. The walls of the café are filled with museum-quality ceramics on floating shelves and illuminated cupboards. Guests are presented with a full-height maple latticework as they checkout.