With the help of trusted staff members, I opened the first smith&hsu teahouse in No.33, Zhong Xiao East Road in Taipei May 2007 designed by Carsten Jørgensen, a friend and a well-known international designer.
My dream of creating a contemporary tea brand was to assemble the best tea of the harvests from around the world with a contemporary accent, far removed from any sense of the nostalgic past then supported by the respect, enthusiasm and knowledge of treating our customers in an informative and cultivated manner.
With a superb selection of a wide variety of teas put together from some of the most famous tea plantations around the world we have set out on a journey to transform old traditions into a contemporary way of making and drinking tea. Indeed, our tea selection mirrors the soul of smith&hsu… somewhere between the well-known British eccentric tradition and the innovative smith&hsu philosophy. We are constantly in search of the best teas we can find. But I have more than a mere passion for tea: I believe that more and more people have a demand for returning to high quality and natural essentials beyond fast food and supermarket standards of average tea taste. From this comes a deep concern for our globe and our health where tea stays at the centre of our mission. Routed in a sense for natural products smith&hsu have set out to serve our customers the simple luxury of sublime taste and quality in contemporary and comfortable surroundings surrounded by unique objects specifically designed for smith&hsu with the goal to make Objects of desire for tea and life. smith&hsu are 14 years in the making of a Taiwanese heritage.
Tea Houses between cultures.
In the early development of smith&hsu the history of the teahouse was fore front in my mind. Not that I wanted to make any references to the nostalgia of tea, but the tea house functions vary widely and depend on the culture in which they are set, even within China in which it is assumed that the term 茶馆 tea house originated. We wanted to investigate this cultural impact to learn from the correlation between architecture, socialising, resting, working, reading and of course drinking tea and so to say, get behind how our tea stores could resemble all this in a new and simplistic expression, bridging the tea cultures between Asia and the western world.
I wanted to develop a basic line of tea tools which would fit into all kinds of surroundings. From a traditional British five o’clock setting to a Chinese tea ceremony to the informal tea drinking of today’s tea drinker. Not an easy task to bridge the difference in culture and tea drinking behaviour, at the same time keeping a unity in design. To be contemporary on one hand and on the other not give up functionality for a fancy design. Working with some of the most outstanding brands in household products around the world I recognised a sense and understanding for design and I knew that the line of products for smith&hsu should be “tools” rather than decorative and trendy eye catchers. Contemporary tea drinking is surely different to the pasts formal way of enjoying tea.
“The design and vibes are so relaxing and organic-looking”
New York, United States
Just one of thousands of positive comments on smith&hsu from customers from all over the world.