Founded by Kuan Chun Cheng, Homework is an interior design studio that specializes in making use of old and found elements. The team of four also run a vintage shop out of their quarters at No. 6, Alley 1, Lane 172, on Sanyuan Street, in Taipei City, Taiwan.
“Modern society has produced so many quick products. In exchange for low cost, the beauty and texture are discarded,” writes Kuan Chun. “This new consumption norm has inadvertently caused more waste. In fact, if you can choose, why not go back in time with us, cherish every age full of sentimental objects?” Join us for a tour of the Xiao Yin Tea House, created by Homework from what had been a noodle joint—and currently open for business.
Photography courtesy of
Homework ( @homeworkdesign_).
Above: The tea house is on the ground floor of an apartment building. The façade was given “a special stucco mixture we invented to make it look old,” explains Mindy, one of the Homework team. “We use this mixture in many of our projects.” The eaves are patinated brass. Above: A simple globe light on a wood ceiling in the arched entry—the name Xiao Yin means “small and hidden.” Above: The hinoki-framed windows—with original opaque glass—came out of a Taiwan tear-down and were bought from a Taipei demolish business. Above: “We tried to create a place for people to slow down, clear their minds, and focus on a cup of tea,” says Mindy. The ceiling is paneled in reclaimed pine. Above: Homework collects and sells vintage hanging lights, such as this one with a porcelain shade. Above: Some of the furnishings have a monastic beauty. Above: Kuan Chun Cheng is Homework’s founder and lead designer. Photograph by Everyday Object. Above: The round window is a based on a traditional Chinese building element; “it’s a symbol of the moon,” says Mindy. The textured glass is for the privacy—”we have small roads and tall buildings here in Taipei, but it also makes the light inside the tea house softer like moonlight.” The vintage bentwood chairs are “from the local Taiwan brand Strauss made in the early days.” (See similar chairs for sale on the Homework shop site.) The standing lamp is an antique from Japan. Above: A pleated brass hanging light, $2,800 TWD ($98 USD), is one of a small collection of vintage-inspired pieces made by a local supplier that Homework sells in its shop. Above: Homework designed this teapot stand; the base holds a candle heater. Above: Shaved ice with star fruit at an outside counter. This window is one of several that came out of an early project of Homework’s: “We’ve kept these since. It’s alway satisfying to find a new home for old things.” Above: Reclaimed pine paneling was artfully applied to the side of the building. Find the teahouse’s website here, and stay tuned for more projects by Homework.
More on designing with found materials: