Some of the most inspiring contemporary spaces take cues from time-honored, traditional design practices. The trick is to blend these conceptual and functional conventions with modern materials and trendy touches to create something new and authentic.

Sitting in a brainstorm session, sipping on our current “brainjuice” of choice (aka Cherry Rose Rooibus by TeALCHEMY… which you absolutely MUST try) we started to discus the idea of the teahouse.  

Teahouses have existed for thousands of years, and are found primarily in Asia and Europe. Hugely popular, and catering to all customs and classes (depending on where you were and what they served) there was once a time when the teahouse was more common than the concept of a restaurant! 

Although the function of the teahouse varies widely depending on the culture, teahouses are basically centers of social interaction where people come to, yes, drink tea and socialize! Both things that Design Shop loves to do! So, we started researching modern teahouse-like spaces, just for the sake of curiosity and inspiration, and we stumbled upon this one…

Tea Mountain, a cafe in Prague, is the product of true interior intuition. By drawing inspiration from a traditional Japanese teahouse, Tea Mountain is a perfect example of balance. Aesthetically, you can’t deny that this is a well thought out space. Just looking at it made us feel instantly calmer.

However, it’s the details that really got us.

The first detail we noticed was the tactile mixture of black plaster, coal, and pieces of straw that line the walls, emulating the clay plasters used inside traditional Japanese teahouses. Stunning! And creative.

Then, we couldn’t help but gawk at the seating, spacing, and shelving. FACT: The layout of a space is just as important as what you put inside that space. By sparsely placing the ash-wood tables and stools (note: stools vs. chairs to connote a distinctly central asian feel), and not cluttering the walls with tightly mounted shelving, the space immediately embraces an open, airy, and calming ambience – which we happen to love. The vaulted ceilings and globe lighting also add to the vastness of the room. A+

Finally, the contemporary anchors, structural and decorative elements not drawn from tradition, really help to create a true sense of balance in the space. For example, the metal finishes along the shelves contrast the raw, earthiness of the wood, and neutrality of the wall colour and slate-like flooring.

Whether you’re a tea drinker or not, wouldn’t you love to spend a little bit of time in this space!?  

With that, we wish you a happy Saturday, and encourage you to take some time today to sip some tea, and consider what traditions inspire your style!

The Design Shop Girls


We love those tv shows too, those fancy, glossy magazine ads, the online articles about the latest and greatest, must go to, must be seen at, heard gossiping while dining and sipping a cocktail or 10 at blah, blah, blah's newest destination. But, before the opening launch happens there are a 'few' steps and design considerations one should make. At least we think so...

EVERYONE expects good food - that's a given.  But, what else can you bring to the proverbial table?

Customers expect, need + want more from your dining establishment  - above all, customers want a total dining experience. To 'survive' you need to deliver on all fronts. Distinguishing yourself (your business) through design is a great way to add value to your restaurant equity and create a unique dining experience that only YOU can offer.

The following are a few design "must haves" to get you off on the right foot...

Tell a story. Your story...
Have your designer work with you at  ONSET to discuss and fine tune your vision.
**Brainstorm and get to know the ''meat + potatoes" of  your brand and identity. No pun intended.

#design #brainstorming basics

** create a logo. This takes time and allow for it. It's an investment piece that should have the lifespan that you expect your business to. Tweaks always happen throughout the years, and that's ok, but the essence and key features opt to remain.
Your branded identity will not only create interest and a following, but should be memorable  and easy to recognize. Once this happens- you are golden.

Speaking of golden, think -  The Golden Arches of McDonalds,  it doesn't matter what country you are from, what language you speak, which god you pray to... You know the 'arches' !!
Or, the poised green mermaid of Starbucks. We've seen her in Taiwan, Israel, Turkey...she's an iconic landmark for many.

Similarly, the clean, seamless image of the stemless wine glass of Joey's restaurants makes an embedded impression to be remembered. There is no confusing that logo with its 'brother / rival' company Earl's.

you can often find Design Shop Inc. working at Joeys Kenaston #satellite #office #networking

you can often find Design Shop Inc. working at Joeys Kenaston #satellite #office #networking

When creating your logo, think critically, deliberate with your designer - make sure your logo is representing your brand (vision, mission + identity).  Ensure the brand is executed consistently throughout the interior too - there is nothing worse than the disappointment of walking into a space that doesn't meet your expectations.

Ok - This is getting longer than expected and there are photos to follow...  Check in again when we deconstruct, explore and materialize - oooh, the buzz words, the practice of translating your identity into the interior space !! We love branding !!

Rival #restaurant to Joey

Rival #restaurant to Joey

The Design Shop Girls