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See Tea Forté’s New Newbury Street Boutique

O’Neil Langan Architects designs a boutique for Tea Forté infused with subtle nods to the luxury tea brand’s trademark product.


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For architect Pei-Yu Lin, the first step in designing a commercial space is to understand the “DNA” of the business that’ll inhabit it. With client Tea Forté, a luxury tea brand founded by RISD grad Peter Hewitt, she focused on the company’s iconic pyramid-shaped tea infuser. Ahead, see how Lin and her team at O’Neil Langan Architects worked the product into the design (and staged some 100 tea varieties) at Tea Forté’s new Newbury Street boutique.

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A stainless steel inverted pyramid—which seems to glow, thanks to a “Magic Cloud” LED light pad—greets customers when they enter the store. The pyramid theme continues in the space’s custom wallcoverings, fabricated by HD Walls. “We wanted to let people know, wherever they go in the future, that whenever they see this pyramid, it’s Tea Forté,” Lin says.

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The designers chose Benjamin Moore’s “Misty Gray” for the walls to allow the colorful tea packaging and accessories to be the focal point. Custom lighting, designed by Ventresca Design, illuminates the canisters, gift boxes, and teaware on the shelves, as well as the dishes of tea leaves, which are backlit at the tasting table.

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Faced with an awkwardly proportioned space, the team divided the store into what Lin calls an “educational room” and a lounge area. The educational room’s double-height ceilings and maple casework create a library-like environment where customers can read about the store’s blends, while the second-floor lounge offers a cozy place to relax and sample teas.