When Swedish designer Asa Eriksson-Ahuja was looking for a present for her tea-loving fiancé, she wanted something more individual and thoughtful than a teapot, or something typically suited to a Japanese tea ceremony. After looking into the culture and history of tea, she decided to make something herself. “So the Lotusier Tea Humidor was originally conceived as a one-off bespoke gift,” she says. “My now-husband is a teetotaller with a passion for teas and a predilection for beautiful craftsmanship.”
The result is something that looks more like a jewellery box in stunning marquetry than a kitchen essential. It is designed to protect tea from humidity, light, air and odours – heat is also an enemy of tea, so the choice of location for the humidor is important. There are five basic collections, with design variations within each: art deco-style Astaire comes in Night and Day versions in the Déco range (£9,950); Andalus (£10,250) is inspired by the Moorish architecture of the Alhambra Palace; Indus (£10,950-£12,000) takes motifs from an ancient civilisation that lived in the Indus Valley of Pakistan and northwest India from 3000 to 1300 BC; Cha-Jing (£10,500) is based on 8th-century Chinese designs; and Japanese-style Saicho (£9,950) has four different colours featuring Eriksson-Ahuja’s folding hand fan “Kyoto” graphics. Each humidor has over 20 different components, made in 12 specialist workshops spread across France, Italy, Switzerland and Germany, and is comprised of four or six crystal containers for the tea. Personalisation of any of the designs is also available via the website or stockists.
Bespoke pieces are available after a consultation with the client over the style of marquetry and finishing, with pricing from £14,000. “There are very few limitations when it comes to size, materials, configurations and styles, provided it meets our aesthetic sensibilities as well as our philosophy of sustainability and environmental consciousness,” says Eriksson-Ahuja. “We have created a humidor to accommodate 18 different teas, for example, as well as one that houses just one special tea. Refined metalwork using precious metals, ornate inlays with mother-of-pearl and gemstones, or crafting humidor-specific trolleys for larger pieces, are all very much part of what we do.”