Natura, a new cafe in the hip Hong Kong cafe district of Wan Chai, wants to encourage visitors to connect with nature – and think about sustainability.
The newly opened venue was created by the city’s floral design studio Origami Florist and will feature floral designs made with natural ingredients such as preserved flowers, assorted woods, and dried plants, that will change by season – along with the cafe’s menu.
And it has formed an alliance with eco-social enterprise HK TimberBank under which co-designed wooden coasters, chopping boards, and other products will be sold in the cafe under the brand Cen-Tree Rings.
Rapid urban development has seen a sharp decrease in the city’s trees aged over 100, with just eight now remaining.
In appreciation of trees with memorable significance, Natura has retrieved local timber from HK TimberBank and repurposed it into aesthetic art installations. Natura’s team aims to promote the message of conservation and commemoration of old trees through the up-cycled wood installations.
Historical local trees have been reinterpreted into forms of design installations and food menu dishes with the aim of raising awareness of tree conservation at the same time as providing Instagrammable spots for customers.
“Trees are an inevitable existence to nature, but they are also the chronicles that record the history, culture, and collective memories of our local community,” the cafe explains in a statement shared with Viable Earth.
In Latin, the word Natura means nature and in the cafe’s branding a colon has been added to the name, the owners say to encourage dialogue with guests.
When customers step into the cafe, their attention will be drawn by a giant henge created from artificial stones reclaimed from old wedding decor, arranged with dried leaves and branches. The cafe believes the botanical arrangement will bloom from the stone and symbolise the interrelationship between the city and nature.
An eye-catching Red Bean Wall installation on the right-hand side of the cafe abstractly resembles the intersecting roots of historical trees, with swirling and twisting vines.
Floating above the coffee bar is another installation dubbed ‘Islands in the Sky,’ made with a raw peach tree as its pillar, and arranged with air-dry Amaranthus, Baby’s Breath, and preserved Hydrangea.
Natura’s menu keeps with the theme, serving signature espresso drinks and flexitarian fusion meals. Fresh local ingredients are mixed with those sourced from Japan. Stretching out the botanic theme, Natura offers savoury and sweet dishes, including limited-edition vegan cakes and signature pastries, such as an apple-shaped mousse and sponge cake.
It also serves pastries created by Koke Lab, a local online vegan pastry shop founded in 2018.
HK Timberbank is an eco-social enterprise operating under the principle of R3 – ReCycle, ReDesign, ReLink – in which local trees felled by typhoons or cut down due to ageing or urban development are given a second life with design and artistry, converted into household items or art pieces.
The upcycled wooden products on sale from Natura x HK TimberBank include log coasters and wooden furniture. The store will host DIY wooden product workshops in August so that guests can create their own one-of-a-kind wooden works.
The log coasters – each one unique – represents pure craftsmanship as each coaster is cut from natural logs with different sizes, colours, and textures. Wooden plates come in two sizes for guests to display various types of foods.
Natura is located at Shop 1&2, on the ground floor of 8 Fleming Road in Wanchai, Hong Kong.
You can read more stories about plant-based and vegan foods in Viable Earth’s food category.