Dezeen Magazine

Kengo Kuma designs £60,500 silver tea set for Georg Jensen

Kengo Kuma is the latest high-profile name to create a tea service for Georg Jensen, basing his design on traditional Japanese sets (+ slideshow).

Kuma's tea service – named Kusa after the Japanese word for grass – will be priced at £60,500 and limited to 11 editions. Each consists of a tea-leaf pot, stirrer, spoon, tray and cup.

Kusa by Kengo Kuma for Georg Jensen

The cup and pot are made from silver, with a contrasting mirror finish on the inside and a dark oxidised surface on the outside.

Kuma's tea set is priced slightly lower than last year's collaboration between Georg Jensen and designer Marc Newson, which attracted controversy for its £82,000 price tag and mammoth tusk handles.

Kusa by Kengo Kuma for Georg Jensen

Kuma used bamboo – a traditional material in Asia – to create the stirrer, and hammered silver for the circular tray. A criss-cross latticework of silver covers the oxidised vessels.

Each piece has been made by hand, and will be stamped with Kuma's signature and the Georg Jensen maker's mark.

"I use an intuitive approach, so I respect and welcomed the process of working with the craftsman and silversmiths in Copenhagen," said Kuma. "That relationship enriches the final design; otherwise, you're just designing what you know."

Kusa by Kengo Kuma for Georg Jensen

"When collaborating, you think you've reached your limit, but then you push yourself beyond what you thought possible."

Kuma, who is set to design the Japan National Stadium for the 2020 Olympics, is the fifth architect to collaborate with Georg Jensen.

Kusa by Kengo Kuma for Georg Jensen

Earlier this year, the company released a collection of jewellery designed by Zaha Hadid before her unexpected death.

The collaborations are part of an attempt – led by CEO David Chu, who joined the company three years ago – to shake up the company's "dusty" reputation by reinvigorating its history of artistic partnerships.

Kusa by Kengo Kuma for Georg Jensen

"We are probably a designer's brand," Chu told Dezeen in an interview. "It's a fantastic position to be in. It's like being the most beautiful girl at the party: you get the most choice."