UPM and the Shanghai-based Tongji University College of Design and Innovation started cooperation in 2015 with a target to create a modern concept for the traditional Chinese tea house. The unique tea house is now ready and showcases UPM’s innovative wood-based biomaterials in a way that combines heritage with the future.
The Chinese tea house has for generations been used for sharing ideas – it is a place where every person and idea is valuable and respected. “In a tea house drinking tea is not the purpose. The most important thing is the topic of conversation. The rule is that in the tea house you should talk about something with soul, about something spiritual,” says Professor Chen Yongqun, who guided the students in the design process together with lecturer Mo Jiao.
A team of six design students from the Tongji University College of Design and Innovation have redefined the design of a traditional Chinese tea house. The students explored the many aspects of the Chinese tea culture, UPM’s Biofore thinking and innovative wood-based biomaterials in creating the airy, light, elegant and friendly meeting place.
“The Chinese tea culture is an environmentally friendly tradition. We soon found out that the quality and nature of UPM’s materials matched with the idea we wanted to express,” says Shen Jingliang, senior student at Tongji University College of Design and Innovation.
The harmonious and functional tea house was not the most typical design project for the students – the collaboration opened new ways of thinking.
“We usually make smaller items. With this project we couldn’t only think about it from the point of view of the product. We had to think about it in the context of space and the nature of the material. From many different perspectives,“ says senior student Zhang Yiding.
All UPM materials used in the Biofore Tea House are sustainable and recyclable. The strong and stiff WISA® Plywood is used for the frame and decorative skin, UPM Grada® thermoformable wood material is used in the main walls and the floor is made of UPM ProFi® Design Deck composite, which is both recycled and recyclable and wonderful to the touch. The Biofore Tea House is complemented with UPM’s label paper.
”This project is a good example of Biofore thinking in practice. It involves international collaboration with talented young students who used their design skills and UPM’s innovative biomaterials to produce something that is beautiful, meaningful and sustainable,” says Elisa Nilsson, Vice President, Brand and Communications, UPM.
Join us in the celebration by drinking a good cup of tea and having a conversation with someone you value.