London-based design studio, Native & Co present ‘Wu: Five Oolong Teas from Taiwan’ – an experience exploring the theme of ‘Wu’ (伍), the Mandarin character for five, and celebrating the rich variety of Taiwan’s tea culture.
Organised by Ministry of Culture, Taiwan, the experience focuses on five selected oolongs from five alternate regions of Taiwan, paired with five clays native to the country. With an emphasis on combining traditional brewing techniques with modern-day methods and presentation, visitors can expect to experience customary Taiwanese tea
culture with a contemporary twist.
Good traditions, good tea and good design have long formed the ‘soft-power’ principles of Taiwan. Renowned for its high-altitude oolong tea, Taiwan’s high mountains and cool pacific air provide ideal conditions for growth. Over the last two centuries, Taiwanese tea farmers have developed many varieties of oolong, a long with uniquely local methods of processing tea.
With its strong tea culture and fine teaware, Taiwan has contemporised the cultivation of oolong with a focus on quality over quantity. ‘Wu’ offers a new way of experiencing oolong tea by presenting Taiwanese tea culture as part of a contemporary lifestyle and exploring modern ways of brewing.
Blending traditional culture and contemporary design is a core message at Native & Co, who also design and curate homeware from Japan and Taiwan in their Notting Hill based lifestyle store. The design duo have hand selected five Taiwanese clay teapots to complement the natural aromas and unique flavours each of the five oolongs teas.
The theme of ‘Wu’ has been carried through into the exhibition design, informing the visual language and use of the space. The tea bar is designed to accommodate only five guests at a time, preserving the intimate nature of the tea session, and its structure recalls the theme with a subtle overlapping design based on five grids. The use of white
space, warm timbers from Native & Co’s studio collections and traditional teaware offers modern and minimal presentation with a Taiwanese flair.