About Aware

Seki Design Studio / Between the Elements

素 の 間 / So no Ma / Between the Elements

An assembly-type device that creates a space that does not limit the purpose, function, or application. A simple structure consisting of the base of the square timber of the stopper, pillars, beams and tatami mats, and hemp.

Words from Seki Design Studio

Tekuno's Packaging is Designed to Live Multiple Lives

Designers Esteban Jauregui and Patricia Lee have created packaging for Tekuno, a San Francisco-based company whose aim is to showcase the quiet yet expansive world of Japanese teas.

The design features a recycled paper wraparound, a sticker, and a hand-lacquered tea tin from 110-year old Japanese tea canister company Kotodo Takahashi. The packaging was designed for Tekuno’s seasonal line of teas, which the company sources each year through a careful selection process with tea farms throughout Japan.

Each piece of the packaging is modular and designed to be repurposed: the canister becomes durable, reusable kitchen storage; the sticker is included unattached so that the user can showcase it elsewhere; and the wraparound can be used as a bookmark—or at least composted.

Jauregui writes, “When I first set out, I thought about how to translate Tekuno’s approach of “teas for quiet moments” to the packaging itself. The idea of slowing down and sharing tea with someone stuck with me, so I wanted the packaging to also be ‘quiet’ and intentional. I kept things separate and uncluttered.”

The typography Lee designed mirrors this approach, utilizing scale and direction to create a type-based visual that would be simple yet highly intentional. Including the Japanese typesetting on the right serves to identify the tea’s place of origin, as well as to recognize the identity and influence of the philosophies that guide it. It was important to Lee that the typography and layout let each tea in Tekuno’s collection showcase its uniqueness. She minimized brand elements and showcased tasting notes, descriptions, and sourcing information.

The sticker, partially hidden by the wraparound, reveals a contemporary composition by Los Angeles-based painter Adrian Kay Wong. Wong worked with Tekuno to develop its logo and muse: a woman enjoying a serene moment with tea. Its colors—deep salmon, seafoam green and soft teal—are meant to evoke the tranquil stillness of nature that is reflected in a cup of tea.

The focused intention found in each element of the package design echoes the restrained, thoughtful beauty of Japanese tea culture.

Sincere thank you to:

Esteban Jauregui—package design & photography
Patricia Lee—typography
Adrian Kay Wong—artwork

See Prototypes:

Kou-An Glass Tea House

Japanese conception of nature is often characterized by its distinctive spacial perception involves the sensory realization of the surrounding atmosphere through what may be described as signs of energies or aura. Such way of sensual appreciation of nature's intrinsic and beauties can be recognized in Japanese tea ceremony practice.

This project originates in the architecture plan of the Transparent Japanese House, first presented in 2002. The idea has been developed into a transparent teahouse, an architectural project incorporating a symbolic Japanese cultural image. The design of the project was presented at Glasstress 2011, the collateral event of the 54th La Biennale di Vennezia.

Originally, the culture of Tea Ceremony was generated in the closed microcosmic space.

This “KOU-AN Glass Tea House” is not just a modernized teahouse that was evolved from traditional style teahouse but a project that traces origin of the culture which is peculiar to Japan.

“KOU-AN” does not have a scroll nor flowers that all the traditional tea houses have. However, glitters that reminds of ripples on surface of water spreads out on the floor. Also, at some point in the afternoon, there will be a rainbow light that is sunlight coming through a prism glass on the roof and it seems like a flower of light.

Tokujin came up with the idea of tracing the origin of Japanese culture that exists in our unconscious sensation by perceiving the time that is created along with nature from the teahouse which is microcosmic space and by being released by superficial designs integrating with nature.

In A.D.794, A Japanese emperor at the time visited Shogunzuka and he was convinced that Kyoto would be a right place to be a capital of Japan and started constructing the capital. Thus, Shogunzuka in a precinct of Shoren-in temple in Kyoto is a place where the city of Kyoto which symbolizes Japanese cultures.

From Kyoto to all over the world, Tokujin is hoping to provide people new experiences through the project and by producing works that make us think of the origin of Japanese culture.

via Archdaily

Unglazed Teapot from Tokoname, Aichi Prefecture, Japan

Flat, unglazed kyusu from Umehara Koushi of the Gyokko Kiln. This jet black kyusu is made from kokudei, or black clay, from the famed ceramics region of Tokoname in Japan. Clay from this area is high in mineral content, resulting in a rounder, thicker bodied cup of tea. Hira refers to the flat bottom.

Flat bottomed kyusus are used for brewing high grade sencha and gyokuro. The wide body allows the leaves more space to brew and cools the water quickly, which accentuates umami and sweetness.

Tokoname teapots become glossy as you use them; the porous clay absorbs flavors from the teas it brews. We recommend preparing only green tea in them.

Brews 200ml / 6.76oz

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Amy Sherald / "If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it"

“If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it” (2019), oil on canvas, 129 15/16 x 108 x 2 1/2 inches

Amy Sherald grew up in Columbus, Georgia, which shaped her conceptions of identity and fundamentally influenced her artistic practice. “Acknowledging the performative aspects of race and Southernness, I committed myself to exploring the interiority of Black Americans,” the artist told Smithsonian Magazine in December 2019. “I wanted to create unseen narratives.”

Now living and working in Baltimore, Sherald paints distinctive portraits set against bold, vibrant backdrops. She renders each subject, who stares directly at the viewer, in her signature grayscale. “A Black person on a canvas is automatically read as radical,” she said. “My figures needed to be pushed into the world in a universal way, where they could become a part of the mainstream art historical narrative. I knew I didn’t want it to be about identity alone.”

When considering how Sherald titles her works, it’s not surprising that she reads voraciously: “She had an inside and an outside now and suddenly she knew how not to mix them” is a line from Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God; Gwendolyn Brooks wrote “She was learning to love moments, to love moments for themselves” in Maud Martha; and “The lesson of the falling leaves” is a Lucille Clifton poem. Each explores the relationship between interiority and exteriority and the experience of Black Americans.

Notably, too, Michelle Obama chose Sherald to paint her official portrait, which was released in 2018. To see more of the artist’s portraits and follow her upcoming projects, head to Instagram.

Originally posted on The Colossal