When the idea of opening our first tea shop in Berlin has begun to take shape, we took great care of every aspect of the project, like the choice of furniture, teaware and menu. We've worked to make this space as welcoming as possible but at the same time elegant and refined as the tea we offer.
Tea is a product of nature. What better than artisanal wood furniture would fit in our tea house?
We have chosen to produce our furniture in an Italian region famous for classical, artistic wood furniture, inspired by models of XVII and XVIII sec. The area is located 30 km south of Verona (Italy). Skilled craftsmen hand down the secrets of woodworking from generation to generation.
Michela, who is originally from Verona, knows personally one of these factories and appreciated the quality of their products: http://www.mobilizorzella.it/en/home
They collaborate with several woodworkers, each of them specialised in a particular step of furniture production. The factory choose the artisans best suited to the design and coordinate the whole process.
Our furniture was made on our design by two carpenters, Benito and Vito, father and son. Benito is around 75 years old and was named after the “Duce” Benito Mussolini. At that time the families naming their son “Benito” were rewarded with money from the state!
The carpentry is a shed under their house, full of carving tools and machinery covered by wood dust. It is in the middle of the countryside, among tobacco and cornfields, that Benito and Vito give birth to their crafts with passion and competence since many years ago. Benito told us to have begun in the '70, learning from his father the art of carving, when the furniture's market was growing up.
Father and son are specialized in cutting and assembling the furniture. The sanding and the coating finish were done in other workshops.
For our furniture we chose rustic oak. Oak because of its warm colour and elegant texture. Rustic because we decided to keep the nodes, veining and rawness of the plant.
For the design, we leaved for once the Far East –no reason for copying what Chinese and Japanese have improved centuries long. Instead we searched for a simple, functional and elegant design, characterized by the slender table’s feet, narrowing towards the ground.
In Italy we ordered squared tables and benches for the tea house, two gongfu cha tables for the tea shop (gongfu cha is the Chinese art of making tea) and the shelves for the porcelain tea vases.
(pictures from my visit to Vito&Benito’s factory, together with Luca, second generation of “Mobili Zorzella” company).
Written by Michela