Original Chai Co

ProjectCafe & Retail Fitout

CountryWoiWurrung

LocationQueen Victoria Market, Melbourne

Completed2023

PhotographerTatjana Plitt

The clients for Original Chai Co are part of the newer wave of immigrants from India and shared our vision to embrace “Culture 2.0” where modernity and tradition are not opposites but coexistent.  Their design background also meant there was a strong foundation of trust and a willingness to take risks. 

Our starting conversation was our mutual desire to turn away from kitsch yet retain cultural DNA through a limited but vibrant colour palette – earthy terracotta hues that bounce off electric blues. The blue is also a subtle nod to the Chai Street carts that are a ubiquitous presence on Indian streets and evoke Original Chai Co’s original incarnation.

Everything in the design stems from the circular profile of as seen when one is sipping a hot cup of chai. This motif then bleeds across plan, elevation, section, graphics and ultimately ties back to the heritage fabric of the Queen Victoria Market’s buildings along Victoria Street. This distillation helps one focus instead on the actual ritual of Masala Chai and how it is brewed with care (and flair!) is placed centre stage.

Having weathered the challenging lockdowns of the pandemic, we nudged the clients to embrace a fit out that left “very little lasting imprint”. In a departure from norms, many of the components are freestanding and the rare seemingly “fixed” elements can either be dismantled /reassembled or unhooked/re-hung. We considered whether the brand might evolve to a different iteration so the avoidance of “baking-in” made sense to their brand and its roots.  We strongly feel this approach of “insertions as if one were to pack up tomorrow” is the way forward for many brands.

Media / PressBroadsheet

Our lovely and loyal customers always comment on the beautiful interior of our store at Vic Market. Andever created an inviting space as warm as our Masala Chai!

– Gauri Vohra & Apoorv Sahani