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Designing Instagrammable moments at Matcha-Ya

At Matcha-Ya by McCartney Design, complementary backdrops and distinctive design features encourage those sought-after Instagrammable moments.

Instagram has become a critical marketing tool for creating awareness and establishing a brand profile. With the popularity of photographing food, hospitality venues and designers are increasingly considering how to encourage and promote Instagramming.

But when you have a distinctive product – like bright green matcha tea – it makes Instagram moments that much easier, particularly if your target audience is millennials. 

Matcha-Ya is a new café in Darling Square, Sydney, that’s serving up the fine green-tea powder in various drinkable and edible forms.

“The brief was to create an environment based on traditional Japanese culture and present it to customers in a contemporary way, tailored to a young Australian and international audience,” says Gary McCartney of McCartney Design.

The café also needed distinguishing elements and to provide a complementary backdrop to the food and drinks, inspiring customers to capture that sought-after photo.

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“The brief was to create an environment based on traditional Japanese culture and present it to customers in a contemporary way.”
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“Young female customers at Matcha-Ya will often order several items from the menu and photograph them to share on social media. Consuming the food and drinks is not the priority, so we had to create a distinctive environment that would be recognisable in photos and also an attraction in its own right,” Gary explains.

Matcha-Ya is a contemporary take on the traditional Japanese teahouse. The narrow space has a bright white preparation and service area on one side and timber-lined seating area opposite.

Varying shades of green hexagonal floor tiles are inspired by nature and the vision of matcha as it dissolves into milk. Zigzag lighting stretching the length of the café references the mountainous Japanese landscapes where matcha is sourced.

McCartney Design designed the English version of the MATCHA–YA logo to be minimalist and vertical, evocative of Japanese kanji. In contrast, the kanji version, developed in collaboration with the client’s in-house designer, has rounder, calligraphy-style forms that are pleasing to the Japanese eye.

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Matcha-Ya is a contemporary take on the traditional Japanese teahouse.
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“The English version lent itself to placement on corners and narrow spaces. The kanji version, being more sensual in form, suited the timber on timber format along the main wall,” says Gary.

With Instagram-friendly surfaces, lighting and logos, Matcha-Ya provides a distinctive and appealing backdrop for its matcha food and beverages.

As customers document their experience on Instagram, it also becomes a way for Matcha-Ya to evaluate its resonance with the target audience. If people are posting and tagging, you know you’re doing something right.

“Matcha-ya already has a big Instagram following and is shared by a large and growing number of users. Partly because of this, it has already established itself as a destination in the new Steam Mill Lane development and there is always a full house,” Gary says.

Photography by Tom Ferguson.

Want some more Japanese inspiration? Take a look at our Top 6 picks. Also catch another project by McCartney Design.

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