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House of Waris Opens a Tea Shop Under the High Line

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Last week Building Fashion's latest incarnation popped up under the High Line on W. 24th Street. And, after a sleek dream boutique for Simon Spurr was followed by an Heather Huey's experiential-experimental installation of gothy layered felt and hanging exoskeletons, we weren't sure what to expect of the new House of Waris pop-up. An email promised a tea room with an eclectic selection of books and baubles and DVDs that Waris Ahluwalia—jewelry designer, model/actor, familiar face and party-attender—just sort of likes.

This time around, designer-in-residence Waris was paired with designer-of-residence Christian Wassmann—a Swiss architectural, industrial, interior and exhibition designer. Wassman's credentials are impressive, but we have to admit this is the first of the Building Fashion makeovers that looks kind of budget to us. That said, this is a temporary structure adapted with limited funding and, most importantly, a contest. Labels are paired with competing designers via BOFFO (a non-profit arts and culture organization that seeks exposure for a roster of varied creatives) and Architizer (basically a Facebook for architects, people that work with architects, and people that love architects).

The tin, inside and out, is swathed in canvas with a tinkling moat of sorts surrounding the whole space. They seemed to have been going for luxury-camp/safari vibe—there's even a tent in the Supima space for relaxing with the $20 pots of tea staffers are serving. In theory it sounds lovely but we're presuming the small budget prevented installers from placing more than a very few stones along the tarp bottom of the water feature. So, it's bunching and chemical and there's seriously a cinder block in there. Meanwhile, the actual tent is kind of sagging and the canvas draped interior is dim and bleak and washes out stock as well as each browsing guest.

Strangely, there's not a lot of Waris to browse. You can pre-order a $1200 Waris-designed scarf. Otherwise you can pick up some pretty adorable Cynthia Rowley tools (very butch), organic granola, pendants, Criterion Collection DVDs, storyboard illustrations from the Royal Tenenbaums and a selection of artful books. Aforementioned tea can be bought in bulk or served on a tray in the Supima garden (where all those potted plants are now flowering—it's actually cotton!) It ain't cheap and you have to get all the way to Tenth Avenue to enjoy it. But hey, whatever floats your boat.

Waris decamps on the 17th; Richard Chai is up next starting on the 21st.
· House of Waris [Official Site]
· Building Fashion [Official Site]
· West Side Pop-Up Fuses Fashion and Architecture [Racked NY]