Turning Over a New Leaf: Creating a New Brand Identity for Tea

^ANYK Design helps two boutique tea bars find brand identity through design. Walk down any Manhattan block, and chances are you are a stone’s throw from a Starbuck’s, Cosi, or neighborhood espresso bar. While few can resist the ubiquitous skinny-grande-double-caramel-macchiato-no-whip, many are looking for an alternative beverage and a less caffeine-charged environment. Enter a new generation of specialty tea bars, where the bean has been replaced with the leaf and infusions trump the au lait. This is not your grandmother’s afternoon tea, rather this new generation of tea enthusiasts are making tea hip again, through creative concoctions and by building identifiable brands and fashionable destinations through style and design.

No one is more on top of this trend in tea than architects Anurag Nema and Orit Kaufman, principals of renowned interior design and architecture firm ANYK. Nema and Kaufman who were commissioned by two of New York’s most popular boutique tea stores, Tavalon and SubtleTea, to fit out their locations according to very specific criteria.

Both Tavalon and SubtleTea wanted to create a brand identity on low budgets. They both wanted to stand out as unique destinations, for both the products and the atmosphere, Nema states. While the two are very different, they both required strict attention to detail. Every aspect of the design, materials, and lighting had to establish each brand’s identity, culture and the intended customer experience.

Located in the heart of Union Square, Tavalon was created with the intention of bringing tea to a new generation as hip, trendy and fun. This called for a clean, contemporary design, incorporating large mirrors, a monochromatic color scheme and minimalist built-in shelves. In keeping with the client’s desire to make Tavalon a spot for young people to come and hang out, ANYK added a DJ booth above the sales counter. Tavalon took the themes of infusion and mixing way beyond the tea, continued Nema. It permeates everything about the space, the beverage, the food, the ambiance, and the sounds.

For SubtleTea, the owners wanted to make it a neighborhood place with a European twist. ANYK created a simple, clean layout featuring a long communal table with custom ipod and cellphone chargers. The design blended a variety of textures, with antique barn wood juxtaposed against a futuristically lit ceiling and Himalayan marble floor.

While these two tea bars present different experiences and aim to reach different sectors of the diverse New York City community, they share the common approach of using architectural design to establish a unique brand identity. Despite small budgets and limited space, ANYK was able to make the design work as both comfortable, friendly locations and as brand identifiers for these up-and-coming destinations. Both Tavalon and SubtleTea have enjoyed great success in their first years in business, and are looking to open additional locations. And we think that is just tea-rrific.

About ANYK
ANYK is a boutique Interior Architecture &Design firm based in New York City. Lead by founder Anurag Nema, ANYK creates innovative, contemporary designs that combine modern concepts, luxurious details and cultural awareness. Specializing in hospitality, residential, and commercial spaces, ANYK combines cutting edge style with the highest quality materials and details to deliver award winning, unique, and enduring design projects.

(By eMediaWire, Feb 2006)
Article URL: http://www.emediawire.com/releases/2007/2/emw505726.htm

Photos of Tavalon and SubtleTea