Lumio, the manufacturer of the Lito folding light in book form, follows another clever design object: a discreet loudspeaker called Teno. At first glance, the loudspeaker in “Arctic White” or “Lava Black” looks like a small stone bowl with a crack running over it. When it is opened, a warm light is exposed and sound flows out. Both light and sound can be adjusted using touch sensors.
Lumio founder Max Gunawan's appearance at Shark Tank in 2015 led to several imitations for his first product, the book-shaped Lito folding light. Gunawan apparently collects the imitations, so I'm curious to see if he'll start a second collection of fake tenos.
In direct contrast to the conventional, slim gadget design, the Teno conveys a meditative, nature-based feeling that Lumio describes as a “modern interpretation of a singing bowl”. The exterior is made of cast resin and sand, which makes it look more sculptural than technological. Gunawan says his goal is to create a piece of technology that "has a handcrafted quality, not the typical industrial-looking product that you see everywhere".
Art historians will find that the design is a nod to kintsugi: a Japanese method of mending broken pottery with gold stitching. The “crack” in the teno that opens to reveal the light and loudspeaker is lined with gold paint. Kintsugi as a philosophy is often cited as a way of recognizing the history of objects rather than simply discarding those that break. Given the sustainability in the minds of many tech companies, Gunawan hopes “timeless” devices like the Teno will help “break the cycle of annual upgrades”. He says that unlike other products that quickly become out of date, the Teno will develop a “patina” over the years that only adds to its beauty. It's not entirely clear how attractive this patina will be or how long the speaker and light will continue to work.
With 250 lumens, the light from Teno is definitely more for the ambience than for the lighting of your bedroom. In terms of sound, the single 45mm full-range driver should be enough for a medium-sized room around 50 to 200 square feet, according to Lumio. Lumio recommends buyers purchase two tenos at $ 300 each that can be combined for stereo sound. The expected battery life is four hours at 100 percent brightness for the light and eight hours at 50 percent volume for the speaker.
The Teno is clearly a tactile object that fits in the palm of your hand. It weighs about two pounds and is a little over two inches tall and five inches in diameter. It has bluetooth 5.0 with aptX HD and a noise-canceling microphone for taking calls. Lumio lists the full specs on the Kickstarter campaign page. Rewards include a day with Max Gunawan and a custom made teno made from Italian marble valued at $ 10,000. The campaign ends on November 20, 2020.