Mr. Cheng Goes to China
The one and only, renowned Fu-Tung Cheng is the creator of what many of you experience as Teance before you even get to the tea: the environment and context, the proper esthetic for tea. That soothing, beautiful timelessness, that alertness to detail that heightened senses. When you walk into Teance in Fourth St, you experience Mr. Cheng’s creation.
I accompanied him for a different purpose these last few days from tea: building and construction in China. We visited 40 story highrises, we went to luxury condo developments, we witnessed factories that produce enormous scales of concrete pieces for construction. Dusty, smoggy, grey skies everyday. Extremely poor construction. Shoddy workmanship. Stuff that is old while new. Seriously, a building looks worn and tired before it’s even finished, and chips and cracks are appearing. The contractors try to build as fast as possible so these wear and tear signs can appear just after they deliver the finished products. The insidious pollution is partly to blame, as all buildings and surfaces have that look of crumpling weariness. The other? corruption, skimming on detail, deficiencies in management, not caring about quality, cutting corners on structures that are hidden (like, really, do you need rebars running across a huge concrete wall?).
Mr. Cheng was appalled, but what got him worst though was the new, popular, ubiquitous new look- the Las Vegas Look! That is, a China version imitation LV Look.
The original LV Look is all about facade. Make the facade out of cheap material to look like something (granite, marble, stone, whatever). China version? Build it out of ultra cheap poorly. If it falls apart in a month, great, more work for the contractors. What is worst though is the utterly bad taste. The LV Look was never in good taste in the first place, but an imitation LV Look though, could only be imagined.
I have photos to prove all of this, if only it won’t break my blog to post it. I will tread carefully.