With a constant flow of new venues opening across Miami, it’s easy to forget some of the city’s classics. Perched up on the 40th floor of Brickell’s EAST Miami Hotel is Tea Room, a true hidden gem. Inspired by dimly-lit Chinese and Japanese tea rooms, this restaurant and lounge should be added to your list of aesthetically pleasing spots to visit stat.
Just on the other side of the popular rooftop venue Sugar, Tea Room is EAST’s real hideaway. You won’t find it easily but turn the corner and walk down the quiet hallway with views of Brickell’s high-rises. Once you reach the tall rustic black wooden door, pull on the gold knocker ring and let yourself in. The mood is instantly set thanks to the California-based interior design group Studio Collective who designed the space, as well as other hospitality venues at EAST.
Inside, dark wide-plank Oak wood floors and vaulted ceilings boasting exposed beams are offset by a cluster of bespoke bell-like brass pendant lanterns suspended by thick black rope and sensuous leather strapping that hang above the center of the room creating a nice glow.
“Lighting was very important for the project,” said Design Director and Partner at Studio Collective, Christian Schulz. “We knew the space would be mostly used in the evening, so we wanted to create theatrical layers of light. We incorporated table lamps, pendant lighting, a backlit laser cut metal bar, and even created a really unique grass cloth wall opposite of the bar with inset LED lights that glow sporadically creating little sparkles.”
It’s natural for your eyes to gaze out into the sunset while at Tea Room, but although the space boasts floor-to-ceiling windows with 120-degree views of the city, the interiors are truly something special. The central den includes an eclectic mix of jewel tone furniture pieces all designed by Studio Collective’s team of creatives allowing an array of intimate seating areas with different viewpoints.
“We had a great time putting together the furniture pieces,” said Creative Director and Partner at Studio Collective, Leslie Kale. “We wanted guests to experience something different each time they visit Tea Room,” said Leslie Kale, Creative Director and Partner at Studio Collective. “It’s one large space, but we were able to bring in custom furniture pieces including velvet ottomans, ornate wooden chairs with velvet upholstery and low, comfy leather loungers to create interesting and compelling areas at different heights with different views.”
The venue’s bar clad with a dark, chiseled stone bar top and supple leather armrest, dominates the east side of the room. The designers wrapped all the existing columns in honed granite imported from China. Fourteen sculpted barstools made of aged brass and plum leather offer additional seating for a more casual yet chic experience. The team also crafted an interesting floating crystalline structure located behind the bar made of steel, wood, glass, and an antique mirror to display the bar’s best spirits. Adding a nod to its Japanese influence, they incorporated two delicate, blackened bronze branch scones with a cherry blossom motif.
Complimenting Tea Room’s views, the space also features a series of multi-colored graphic artwork depicting Southeast Asian Landscapes designed and curated by Studio Collective, which were inspired by layered artworks of Chinese artist, Xia Xiaowan. The space also features an intricate wall of glowing work by LA-based artist, Jocelyn Marsh.
An expansive tactile wall of suede panels with delicate inlays of aged perforated brass add a strong sense of warmth and heaviness to the unique design-driven space. The design team added curtains to some of the seating areas to create additional privacy as seen in typical Asian tea houses. However, their use of leather, velvet, and metal accents throughout, creates a more contemporary ambiance perfect for the Downtown Brickell crowd.
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