This project began when I met a potter from Yoshida-yaki village, a part of Ureshino city on Kyushu Island. Here there is modern and precise porcelain production, and together with the very high-quality green tea available locally, it was natural to start designing a set of tools to combine the two.
Our mission is to guide and enhance the enjoyment of preparing this low-temperature tea through design, and this is the foundation of the choices of shapes and the texture of the finish.
Design: Tomoko Azumi
Fine tea from Ureshino
The green tea from this area is famed for its high quality. Usually, it is served at 60 degrees, a lower temperature than everyday tea. The serving process involves cooling the initially boiling water by pouring it first into the teacups ( for the first brew ), then into the cooling jar, and from there into the teapot.
Hohin / teapot without handle
Low, large opening and no handle – this is the character of the Hohin. To adapt this traditional item to our contemporary life, our design evolved from two criteria – a stable grip when carrying and a modern appearance.
Yunomi / teacup
The final decision on the glaze was based on how the colour of tea appears in the cup. The glaze is soft to the touch and the tea colour is presented accurately.
Yusamashi / cooling jar
This item is important to make this fine tea since you need to cool the boiling water before adding to the teapot. It used to be a separate ‘kitchen item’ but we introduce this onto the serving tray.
chasaji / tea spoon
To reflect the modern appearance of the other items, we designed a self standing spoon which is easy to pick up.
chataku / teacup saucer
Traditionally made from wood or metal, wood was chosen as a less formal and warmer material. For modern serving ( not too formal! ) you want to be able to pick up the saucer whilst you still hold the tray. The rim is high enough for your fingers to grasp and a small ridge for your thumb allows you to hold it securely.
chabako / tea set box
A light weight and compact container for the whole set, together with a package of tea – and the lid becomes a tray to serve tea to your guests.
chazutsu / tea caddy
Made by Kaikado, a long established caddy maker from Kyoto, the air tight precision fabrication will preserve your tea longer. The thick tinplated material will mature and mellow over the years. The size is exclusive for this set.
Born in Hiroshima, in 1966, Tomoko Azumi trained as an architect at Kyoto City University of Arts (1985-89 BA Environmental Design ) before working for an architectural practice in Tokyo. She later studied Furniture Design at the Royal College of Art (1993-95 MA RCA). Following a ten year partnership as AZUMI, Tomoko Azumi opened TNA Design Studio in 2005.