F: For us, burning incense creates a sense of calm that helps us to focus on the moment in order to better begin our day. What rituals do you perform in order to become centred and grounded for a day in the TENNEN Studio?
T: Besides burning incense in the morning, we start each day with a proper sit-down breakfast and tea. We have breakfast at a beautiful marble tea height table, most often with a simple candle, and always with a loose leaf. This is the foundation.
F: We at Fallow have an ongoing love affair with all things Japan - your Sonoran Desert Series is distinctly inspired by the deserts that surround you in your home state of Arizona, why the leap from the USA to Japan for the Japan Dry Garden Series?
T: We share that love for Japan- the name of our company, which we founded in 2001, is a Japanese word. We have always been inspired by the culture and sensibilities of Japan as well as by the design principles. I first travelled to Japan on an exchange program at the age of 15, and we both were inspired by contemporary Japanese architects in college. As we have been raising our children, we have travelled as a family to Japan many times. It started with a desire to take our kids for a trip to Japan for each of the four seasons by the time our oldest graduated high school. But our love for Japan grew, and our trips became more frequent. And from there our design business expanded into the incense burners and the incense, and our visits to Japan increased even more. Our home is in the desert of Arizona, but we have found an emotional / spiritual home in Japan as well. We wanted to explore this and share this through scent.
F: Are travels to an exotic destination on the horizon, perhaps the next incense series is in the stars?
T: Well, I suppose exotic is up for interpretation :). We have been doing more design work- architecture and interiors- in a variety of environments including bustling cosmopolitan cities, remote natural settings, and waterfront settings. This range of experiences is certainly playing in to the development of some things in the pipeline.
F: Your collection of incense burners are incredibly well considered from both a design and function perspective. Are there any other everyday objects you would like to redesign?
T: Ha- where to start? We discuss this quite often and have a start on some- again related to daily routines- vanity trays, drawing/work table organization, door hardware (we design and make hardware for most of our projects).
F: Architecture, art, music and fashion are closely related do you have any favourite retail concepts/labels or artists you admire and/or draw inspiration from?
T: Marni, Yohji Yamamoto, Rick Owens, James Turrell, Yoshitomo Nara, Studio Drift, James Mercer, Thom Yorke, PJ Harvey, Aesop Rock. We love music, we love fashion. Music is a big part of our life- both of our kids are musicians and we see a lot of live shows. Art is a big part of our life as well- we surround ourselves with art in our own home, and enjoy museums and shows especially in our travels.
F: Minimalism is celebrated within your olfactory and object offering. Does this spirit of ‘less is more’ carry through in other aspects of your life?
T: Absolutely. We see minimalism in two ways- As a removal of the non-essential, as well as an economy of gesture. Those are two very different approaches to minimalism, and we consider both inherently in the design work we do, as well as in the things we surround ourselves with, and the relationships we have. Minimalism does not mean “:spare.” It does mean living thoughtfully and purposefully, and caring about the objects and spaces we create. The quantity and layers of “things” may vary within our own lives, or between the various projects we are doing as a reflection of each client, but the quality and the care do not. The moves we make in design are carefully considered, and not rooted in whimsy or “style.” This approach to minimalism we believe leads to a timelessness, and a heightened awareness of the senses. It leaves more mental space to experience the things that time cannot change- natural light, change of seasons, inherent sensual qualities of materials.