I’m always on the lookout for the quintessential tea house. For me, it would be in nature as my relationship with tea speaks to its natural elements. With each cup, I envision beautiful tea slopes on tall mountain peaks shrouded in morning mist. The tea house would need to be modern in style to allow itself to become part of the world outside.
The New York Times recently did a piece about the Japanese artist and visionary Hiroshi Sugimoto. It was his glass tea house in Venice that captured my imagination: “Hiroshi Sugimoto is a celebrated chronicler of the monotonous, the frozen and the familiar. He has photographed seascapes, modernist buildings and wax figures of famous people.”
I found it interesting that Sugimoto created such a small space, suitable for only two persons: the tea master and the guest. The small transparent box provides a unique space encouraging a degree of intimacy between the pair. Although it is set up on the grounds of a museum, I like to imagine it in a forrest, surrounded by trees and passing animals.
I’m not sure what it is about nature, but I find myself at peace in a way that I’m not able to achieve indoors. It reminds me that we’re all connected and part of something greater. Those of us who love tea often find that similar connection with the people whom we choose to share tea with. This connection feels universal in that it’s a common thread that people write about when sharing stories of tea ceremonies (formal or informal) that they’ve attended. Tea unites us. Tea soothes us. Tea stimulates us. And of course, tea relaxes us.