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NEW YORK For the recent opening of the Ito En flagship store and restaurant on Madison Avenue, plant and flower designer Eve Suter created gorgeous displays combining traditional Asian plants such as bamboo and cherry blossoms with a nod to ikebana (the Japanese art of plant and flower arrangement). Suter's pieces--which included giant bamboo stalks with small rectangles cut out and filled with flowers and other plants--complemented the venue's soothing, Zen-like environment.
Ensconced among the avenue's designer clothing boutiques, Ito En--the largest green tea distributor in Japan--offers Upper East Sides a relaxing place to rest their wearied feet from shopping with a store replete with a tea tasting bar and an upstairs restaurant that will surround patrons with a serene environment of slate gray and muted moss green.
The ground floor is the retail space, which features a wall lined with rows of glass containers filled with tea that customers can open to take a whiff. A beautiful cherry wood counter serves as the tasting bar where teas can be sampled, and the rear of the store showcases a gorgeous selection of tea accouterments, including tea pots and Japanese tea ceremony wares. The restaurant Kai is on the second floor, which can hold 50 when coupled with the basement-level dining room.