When we think of retail-studio combinations, often we think of designers working on the small scale – ceramicists or fashion designers, artists and jewelry makers. But our favorite new shop in a studio is by architect Tommy Zung, founder of Studio Zung – and now of Shop Zung. Shop Zung offers an intimate exhibition space, concept store, tea menagerie merged with its architecture and interior design studio that carrys works by artisans such as FramaSkagerakThomas Jenkins, Ole Gjerløv Knudsen, Bicotler and Ole Palsby

We talked to Tommy to learn more. 

What lead you to create a combined retail and work space and how has it affected your design practice? 
I feel the sense of discovery has been missing in New York recently, many spaces and stores now feel homogeneous and sterile. I wanted to truly build a creative space where people could experience the interaction between architecture, design and objects. A space that would inspire them, make them wonder and ask questions.  A space that sparks dialogue with others and themselves. It has affected our design practice by opening our process for everyone to see. It offers those who come in to see and feel how we look at and interpret architecture, design and objects, not only our own creations, but those of artisans around the world who immerse themselves into the mindful practice of design.

As you designed the space, what was your vision for the space? 
When I moved from California to New York City many moons ago, my first studio was a loft on Wooster and Grand street. It felt like everything New York; inspiring, raw, abundant potential.  When I saw 41 Grand, an old artist’s space, I knew immediately that it fit my vision for our modern minimal studio, rooted in the classism of New York architecture. It was seamless and natural from there, using pure materials from the source, bringing our artisans to touch every inch of the space, and considering every detail to merge our design studio with our experiential shop and showroom. 

What was the most challenging part of the design? 
The most challenging part was staying close to budget, as always.  Beauty comes with a cost. 

What has surprised you the most now that it is open? 
That people express how happy and ‘still’ they feel when they visit the space. That they often share a memory of when they were in Japan, Scandinavia or Paris and it brings feelings of appreciation to them. Our vision is to evoke emotions within people and start a dialogue about design, living and working. I could not be more happy with that.