Yswara Tea Room and Store in Johannesburg by Studio 19

Yswara is a South African Luxury tea and accessories brand which launched back in 2012. They recently opened their first store and tearoom in Johannesburg in collaboration with S.A-based multidisciplinary design consultancy, Studio 19.

The location of this retail space is symbolic as it is situated within the iconic architectural landmark that is the Cosmopolitan building at Maboneng in the Johannesburg CBD. Maboneng is a SeSotho word meaning ‘place of light’ which holds deep meaning for the Yswara brand.

The tearoom itself offers an afro-zen atmosphere with a rose gold & desert pink color palette as well as aesthetic inspiration and decor reflecting the Pan-African spirit of  Yswara. The space showcases elements from all parts of Africa such as Coptic crosses from Ethiopia, totem lamps inspired by West & Central Africa and the Moroccan-inspired tearoom. It pays tribute to the antiquity of African elegance within a largely contemporary context.

Here’s a description from Yswara,

In the Sankofa spirit (Sankofa means “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten”), we embrace our past & celebrate the rejuvenation of one of Africa’s leading cities. Built in 1899, THE COSMOPOLITAN, is an historic and iconic building. It is as architecturally unique to Johannesburg as it is beautiful, and forms part of the continuing narrative of the city.

The Maboneng exterior signifies our commitment to the regenerative vitality and creativity of 21st century African city life, while the interiors offer a place for quiet, timeless contemplation. Through the use of noble, natural materials (stone, wood, marble and copper), together with the calming tones of our signature desert pink, we hope to bring those forces together and provide visitors with a restorative sanctuary for simple and refined pleasures. We strive to be that place of light.

“I like simplicity, minimalism, soulfulness and yet I am also attracted to the serene romantic. For me these things are detached from the material and reflected in my aesthetic. I don’t want to be cluttered but I have liked dusty pink shades since I was a child. The YSWARA signature colour is the colour of my first apartment in Switzerland 20 years ago when I lived on my own for the first time and the color of all places I have lived on my own. My taste has remained quite stable. The YSWARA store colors, patterns, vibe are very much what I would have picked out as a child. I don’t think of them as childish. Rather they are timeless reflections of who I am.”

-SWAADY MARTIN, Founder, Yswara

The Yswara brand is retailed in a number of locations across 15 countries in Africa, as well as USA, Europe, Middle-East and Asia. One of such locations that caught our attention is Luxury Living Ghana, a Ghanian showroom displaying selections of furniture, home decor and lifestyle accessories. The decor within the showroom carries the same pan African spirit Ysawara brings also in a contemporary context. Plus they also have a tea room. Take a look.

The Retail Corner at Luxury Living
Luxury Furniture at Luxury Living
The Tea Room at Luxury Living


Founded in December 2012 by Swaady Martin, YSWARA is a brand of the SWAADY GROUP, a woman-owned social enterprise; transforming African agricultural commodities locally to contribute to the reversal of the African commodity trap.

Africa is the world’s top producer of sought-after agricultural commodities which are mostly not transformed on the continent. African raw materials are processed elsewhere. Africa is the world’s 3rd largest exporter of tea (behind Sri Lanka and China) but none of the top 10 tea brands of the +$60Billion tea market are from Africa. Our factory is located in the Cradle of Humankind, South Africa and 75% of our team are women.

YSWARA’s mission is to locally process Africa’s tea into high-value products distributed globally. We offer a collection of teas & herbal teas, unique flavours from Africa as well as artisan-made teatime accessories, products of exception elegantly packaged.

YSWARA is present in 15 countries in Africa, USA, Europe, Middle-East and Asia with ~25 retailers including at some of the world’s most beautiful retailers, hotels & Spas such as The Four Seasons, St Regis, The Saxon, Singita. It is the 1st African gourmet brand to be sold at Selfridges, one of the world’s most visited department store.

We participate in the cultural survival & rebranding of Africa and have won numerous awards & recognitions incl. Best new Talent in the Luxury Industry (by the French Center for Creation & Luxury), Best African emerging brand (Brand Africa).

Visit our websites, www.yswara.com and www.swaady.com OR contact us by email at marketing@yswara.com for more information.

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