The exhibition Lisn to Finland was a nice experience at Axis gallery during the Tokyo Design Week. The exhibition showed the modern face of traditional Japanese incense in a meeting with the vanguard of Finnish design. According to Tomoki Kusakabe, who once again kindly helped me with images and also information about Japanese incense, it was superb union of these two aesthetic expressions. Japanese incense has a long history. It came to Japan from China, along with Buddhism, in the year 538 CE. From that point on, incense would become an important facet of Japanese culture. Initially, it was only imported from China, until eventually Japan began to make its own. Many of the current incense companies have been in existence for more than 300 years. Inspired by the subtle sophistication of Lisn incense, seven design teams created a collection of incense holders and related objects. Among the designers you found Harri Koskinen and Ilkka Suppanen. Lisn incense is produced by Shoyeido Incense Co., a company with 300 years of unique expertise in hand-blended incense. Today, Shoyeido is considered the highest quality, most natural incense, available in the world.
For further information about Japanese incense please visit this webpage.
POOL by Ilkka Suppanen
Japanese incense was from the beginning always long and in green colour, but Lisn changed the incense colours and its package. Every colour has a story….
Detail of POOL
Overview of exhibition
VISN by Pentagon design with integrated LED light
UNTITLED (A) BY Syrup Helsinki
UNTITLED (C) by Syrup Helsinki
Japanese incense sticks are also known as joss sticks. They are made from incense dough that has been extruded through a press, like spaghetti, then cut and carefully dried. Japanese incense sticks lack a bamboo interior which makes them produce less smoke.
UNTITLED (B) by Syrup Helsinki
PORCUPINE by Ilkka Suppanen
Interviews with designers
INCENSE RING by Harri Koskinen, made in silver
GLASS TUBE by Harri Koskinen, a pyrex-glass container for incense sticks
Lisn started in 1989 with an aim to create a line of contemporary incense and incense related objects for interior and modern lifestyle. The name Lisn comes from the English verb to listen. The listening to the scent is a concept, which was adopted by the 15th century Japanese connoisseurs of subtle and sophisticated incense. The Lisn shops are located in Kyoto, Tokyo and from July 2006 in Helsinki, the first outside Japan. The Helsinki shop is designed by Dsign Vertti Kivi and Co. Its interior with straight lines, black veneer walls and glass tables form a simple but powerful contrast to the playfully colorful incense sticks and the contemporary Japanese aesthetics in the design of burners and holders. Lisn Helsinki is located in the fashionable Ullanlinna district and is a proud member of the Design District Helsinki.