With its minimalist, Far East-inspired decoration, To Tsai Tea Room offers visitors a tea-scented island of Zen within a bustling area in downtown Athens.
Named after the Greek word for tea, To Tsai, is a tea room and bistro located on a quiet side-street in Kolonaki, one of the most vibrant areas of Athens. Serving a wide variety of unique qualities of tea categorized by type (black, green, white) and origin (China, Japan, Ceylon etc.) as well as light meals and cocktails, To Tsai, extends an invitation to take a breather from the commotion of the city at any time during the day.
Although tea culture is relatively new to Athenians, it seems to have found resonance in recent years. To Tsai’s owner, one of the first quality tea importers in Greece, opened his first tea retail outlet just couple of blocks away in 1994, before opening the tea room, restaurant and shop in its current location in 2008.
His vision for its renovation was that of a unique tea “island” in the middle of downtown Athens; a place of calm where visitors could retreat to from this bustling part of the city. A space based on the characteristics of the traditional minimalistic Japanese architecture, and a reflection of the elements related to the traditional tea ceremony such as wood, light and shadows.
His vision was brought to life by architect Georges Batzios, in a redesigned space where form, texture and function meld under a single distinctive element: a minimalist wooden framework made of 200 panels of laminated timber covering the entire interior, organizing and delineating the different functional areas of the tea house, while creating a unified visual perception for the ensemble.
A Zen vibe is precisely what you get as you sip your tea at the wooden tables, surrounded by the warm and wonderful scent of the teas, while you watch city life going on in its rushed rhythms outside.
To Tsai Tea Room www.tea.gr
Architect: Georges Batzios Architects
Client: Mlesna Hellas
Location: 19 Alexandrou Soutsou Street (& Lykavyttou), Kolonaki, Athens, Greece
Floor Area: 120.0 sq. m.
Photography by Konstantinos Kontos