Project: Kusmi Tea

Design: Christopher Jenner
Opening date: January 2017
Store size: 67 sq m

Luxury tea brand Kusmi Paris has opened a store in the Calatrava station at the World Trade Centre in New York with an interior that balances the company's baroque Russian heritage with its French provenance (the company launched in Saint Petersburg in 1867 before moving to Paris in 1917).

Created in collaboration with UK-based designer Christopher Jenner, the store concept is inspired by French savoir-faire and the exceptional craftsmanship of the Church of the Savior in Saint Petersburg, with its mosaics, Orthodox brass chandeliers, marble flooring and onion domes.


'The brief from Kusmi Tea was to create a bespoke environment that would communicate their heritage and values through the medium of design,' says Jenner. 'They were looking for unique design assets which would help to define their brand in an ever-competitive market place.'


Kusmi's own packaging also created a starting point for the store design, leading to a special collaboration with Italian glass mosaic brand Bisazza. For the first time, the interior concept uses matt white mosaic glass tiles, set within an abstract pattern of primary and secondary colours.

In addition, two large stylised illustrations inspired by Camellia Senensis - a small shrub whose leaves and buds are used in tea making - are realised in marquetry using more than 30 coloured veneers and mother-of-pearl, paying tribute to the art of tea blending.


'Key to our objective was to draw new clients into the space,' continues Jenner. 'To achieve this, while creating a focal point, we designed and made a custom, three-tier chandelier in stainless steel.'

The 30 interlaced, organic arms of the chandelier connect to a central shaft of multiple turned components that disappear into a multicoloured, stained-glass onion dome set within the ceiling, evoking the Russian heritage of the brand.


Meanwhile, the eye-catching single sweep showcase is composed in a series of sections that are cantilevered off the walls and joined by stainless steel connectors. Here, floating glass shelves mirror the contour of the space, stepping back as they gain height to allow for even light dispersal along the vertical height.

'A moulding in French Oak frames the display surface of Carrara Marble, each section terminating in push-catch drawers used to replenish stock,' adds Jenner.


A tasting station in the centre of the store is designed to reflect the pattern in the oak and marble parquet floor and features four hand-made stainless steel samovars, placed at right angles, offering a selection of blended teas throughout the day.

'The space reflects a meticulous commitment to craft and technology, where traditional techniques are amplified through computer added design,' concludes Jenner.

The new interior concept will be used in Kusmi Tea stores across the United States as well as emerging markets.

Photography: Michael Franke







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