Opening Shot is a column that peeks inside new hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops with dreamy interiors.
Location: Fuzhou, China
Designer: Neri & Hu
On Offer: When Scottish photographer John Thomson published his album, Foochow and the River Min, in 1871, it became one of the West’s first glimpses of the Far East. The series documented his travels around China and journey up the River Min, where he captured a shot of the ancient Jinshan Temple perched atop a floating rock that would become one of Fuzhou’s enduring images.
Nearly a century and a half later, adaptive reuse gurus Neri & Hu used the temple as inspiration when masterminding Fuzhou Teahouse. The unconventional project proved especially challenging since the Shangahi–based practice was tasked with transporting the historic former residence of a Qing dynasty official, abundant in ornamental carvings and intricate joinery, from the eastern Chinese province of Anhui to Fuzhou completely intact.
Standout Features: The Hui-style structure serves as the inhabitable centerpiece of a new teahouse outfitted with a sweeping copper roof punctuated by sky wells that filter streams of natural light into the depths of the enclosure where the architectural relic resides. Awaiting visitors in the arrival lobby downstairs is a sunken courtyard, tasting rooms, and a rotunda crowned with a carved oculus submerged below the street-level reflection pool. The pool filters streams of natural light, emblazoning the space with meditative reflections.