After graduating from architecture school and working separately in the field of construction, Ethan Wessel and Sarah Swartz Wessel co-founded Tennen Studio in 2001. Tennen Studio has evolved from an architectural design firm to a multi-disciplinary firm that designs buildings, landscapes, spaces, furniture, hardware and products for living.
The culture and design sensibilities of Japan - honesty of materials, minimalism, care, connection to nature and the changing seasons - are guiding principles for the work of Tennen Studio.
Green tea and incense have been constant in the office of founders Ethan Wessel and Sarah Swartz Wessel.
Frustrated by not only the function, but also the aesthetics of incense burners, Ethan and Sarah began sketching and making burners for their own use. The intent was to make a burner that allowed the "nub" of the incense to not be stuck in the holder after burning.
This eventually led to pushing forward a line of incense burners for stick incense, with a patented holder for the sticks, as well as burners for spiral and cone incense.
Tennen developed a line of pure authentic Japanese incense with a company in Kyoto with the first series inspired by the Sonoran Desert.
The incense burners and incense were catalyst for formally establishing Tennen, separate from the architectural work of Tennen Studio, as a lifestyle product company.
Tennen pushes new ideas an technologies, while embracing the things that time can not change - natural light, change of seasons and the inherent sensual qualities of materials.
The burners are made in Arizona of solid brass with a satin brass, copper or polished nickel finish. In some versions the solid brass is paired with mesquite or ironwood.
The packaging of some of their signature burners consists of a traditional Japanese cloth and a wooden box. Both are intended for re-use. There are an infinite number of ways the box and cloth can be used. The cloth gets better with age - it can be washed in cold water and hung to dry.
Pure authentic Japanese incense
Tennen has a line of pure authentic Japanese incense with surprisingly fresh and mesmerising scents. The incense is very clean burning, made of all natural materials.
Thoughts on design
Sarah and Ethan pursue simplicity in their design work, both as an economy of gesture, as well as a removal of the non-essential. They believe this leads to a timelessness and provides for a heightened awareness of the senses.
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