Kettl Tea Flagship / Michael Tower Architecture
Text description provided by the architects. Kettl Tea, importer of Japan’s finest teas, chose Michael Tower Architecture to transform a large retail loft in Greenpoint Brooklyn, to house a cafe, ceramics studio, gallery and corporate headquarters. The goal of the renovation was to create a true flagship; a representation of the brand in the public retail space while housing all of the company’s operations.
The grinding and roasting of tea is on public display. The ceramics displayed in the café are thrown away and fired in the cellar below. Visitors also have a view of the rear space which houses their operations, inventory and execution.
The design of the cafe was inspired by the ceremonial tea structures of Japan imagined through a modern lens of materials. On the front, a new maple and glass service window welcomes visitors from the street. The white stucco facade that surrounds it introduces guests to a bright and warm interior. Upon entering, the guest’s view is directed to a monumental 14-foot (426 cm) cast-in-place concrete bar at the rear of the space. A recessed cutout in the bar counter holds a steaming tea kettle and emphasizes the tea service.
In the center of the cafe is a custom maple table with seating where guests can sit together and enjoy tea and a selection of matcha treats. The cafe’s walls are filled with museum-quality ceramics on floating shelves and lighted cabinets. Customers are presented with a full-height maple trellis upon checkout.