About Aware

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:

Paul Discoe / Zendo Meditation Room for Burning Man

Paul Discoe, Meditation Room Made of Recycled Cardboard for Burning Man.

"A ordained Zen Buddhist priest, Paul Discoe studied art history and philosophy as an undergraduate in the United States and Buddhist temple design and construction in Japan. He became a student of Suzuki Roshi at the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in California, and, after four years, Suzuki sent him to Japan to train under a traditional master builder for five years. Discoe founded Joinery Structures in 1988. His projects include the Kojin-an Zen temple in Oakland for the Akiba Sensei, the founder's hall and kitchen at Tassajara, the Lindesfarne guesthouse and Wheelwright Center, and the abbot's house at Green Gulch, as well as several private and public projects internationally."

Listen to Paul Discoe's explanation about the project here.

Biography via Workshop Residence.

Toshi Yukikita / Shouji Kekkai An

As a memory and reminder for the Japanese Tatami soul and culture, built using only natural materials, this 3 and a half tatami-sized space “Shouji Kekkai An” can be put together and taken apart for easy assembly and stow away, a perfect atomosphere for a tea cermony, or as a guest room. The basis for this furniture, the Ceremony Space, was exhibited in 1987 as an invitation piece at the 10th anniversary of the Pompidou Centre in Paris.

Wasara Disposable Tableware

Elegant and flowing form that fits straight into one’s hands, texture like handmade Japanese paper, subtle shading, and the beautiful image of the dishes stacked on top of each other. We place great importance on the touch of the tableware and the feeling when you bring it to your mouth. In the search for a design that is easy to hold, we settled on the organic form of WASARA. It has a natural fit with the curvature of human hands, and brings grace to the movements of everyone who holds it. With elegant form and texture that reflect its handcrafted roots, WASARA is the essence of functional beauty, made possible by the unparalleled skill of Japanese craftsmen. Such skillful modeling has resulted in these exquisite forms overflowing with character.

Disposable tableware from Wasara