Susu Bubble Tea case study
Susu Bubble Tea is the new sister brand of existing Momo Tea – the first, authentic Taiwanese bubble tea brand in South Africa, launched in 2018 by its founders Samuel Boaz and Henrry Francisco Castillo Kanashiro.
As Cooked Studio has had the privilege of working with the brand for several years, they were delighted to hear of Momo’s success on Instagram and TikTok, where teenagers and university students can’t get enough joy from sharing the photos and videos of the colourful juices, milky teas and Momo slush beverages.
Cooked Studio briefed for design
As a result of Momo’s online success, Cooked Studio received a new brief from the Momo Team in January 2022 for a new Bubble Tea Café, based in De Waterkant, Cape Town, and the instructions were to simply “Make it Instagrammable”. They had free reign to develop a new colour palette for the brand and play with human curiosity – the more brand exposure online, the better.
The Momo and Susu beverages are super bright and colourful, fun to make, great to look at and even more delicious to drink, so they decided to give the products a home to match.
The concept, design and considerations for the new tea café
Mel Cook, the founder of Cooked Studio, says: “I always begin every project by determining who a space’s users are and how we can use design to create a sense of connection for them with the brand. I explored the little character displayed on the Momo/Susu branded cups, by thinking about who this character was, what he’d be doing, who his friends would be and what his world would look like. I’ve always loved this creature’s whiskers and eyes, so I quickly began sketching out how we could use line and spheres to honour these elements.”
They had to keep in mind how each corner would be viewed through a cell phone lens, from multiple angles and – by creating a playground with fully functional elements including a see-saw, swing, a portal mirror in the lounge bulkhead and oversized colourful furniture – they could encourage people to bring out their inner child and sculpt a space that felt like an adventure for Susu’s customers.
The culture and challenges
They worked with a Taiwanese brand and implemented Feng Shui. “It felt right to consider the culture of the people behind the product as well as the auspicious components when creating the space plan that would bring Susu’s business success.”
The first challenge was that there are two entrances and, according to Feng Shui, the entrances need to be managed so that money doesn’t flow in one door to simply fly straight out the second. “We resolved this problem by directing traffic from both entrances directly to the point of sale counter by including a curved divider wall at the second entrance, which helped to create a sense of intimacy in the lounge area of the café as a bonus”, says Mel.
The result, a roaring success
Cooked Studio worked tirelessly on each detail, ensuring each element was custom made/curated to fit into the Susu fantasy world, and by collaborating with some incredible teams to realise this magical store, the end result has been a roaring success. Susu Bubble Tea Café has become a TikTok and Instagram sensation, just as it was intended.
Interior photography: Lionel Henshaw Photography.
Project management and build: Teqture/JKL Holdings.
Plant sourcing, styling and install: Naak Botanical Studio.
Custom sofas and upholstery: Hertex Fabrics and Girafffe Designs.
Interior design: Cooked Studio.
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