Phoenix-Tree Garden by Atelier ZZ: 2019 Best of Year Winner for Coffee/Tea
Before architecture studio Atelier ZZ came on the scene, the project site, the courtyard of a Beijing teahouse, could be seen at a single glance: It was all of 600 square feet. So, to give it the illusion of greater size, and provide outdoor seating on pleasant days, chief designer Zhang Qingfan drew on classical Chinese garden design, which plays with scale, rendering natural landscapes in miniature. And then gave it all a contemporary spin.
A gently folded wall divides up the courtyard, its circular opening providing a peek of what’s on the other side. Against it, stacks of rocks—a traditional Chinese garden element intended to evoke towering mountains—stand out. Some stones serve as seats for sipping tea. The water from a small pool, inspired by the ponds in larger landscapes, is channeled through another opening in the wall, this one reminiscent of the bridges common in Chinese gardens. Colored stones are mixed in with gray ones. “When wet,” Zhang notes, “the colored pebbles look like fallen leaves.” Another trick of the eye—and Atelier ZZ’s hand.
Project Team: Zhang Bo.