An Architect Illuminates a New Way to Experience Sound

10.22.20 | By
An Architect Illuminates a New Way to Experience Sound

The Teno by Lumio looks like no other wireless Bluetooth speaker you’ve ever seen. The 5-inch diameter object has the appearance of a cracked minimalist sculpture pieced back together using kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery using lacquer mixed with powdered gold. Its innards glow through the crack, an intentional detail demanding attention, curiosity, and eventually, touch.

Nature plays prominent in the development of Teno’s unique form in relation to its function as a wireless speaker.

“This project began with a walk in the forest,” explains former architect and Lumio founder, Max Gunawan, “I found myself surrounded by the sounds of nature, birds chirping and water streaming in the distance — without seeing where they were coming from. It felt magical. I went home and got to work.”

Inspired by the aural sensations of forest bathing, Gunawan set to recreate the effect with a design purposely hiding the source of its sound, a resin half sphere cast finished in a textured sand exterior with an inner layer glowing radiantly (a warm 2700K temperature). Like finding an unusual rock on a hike or while beach-combing, the crack operates as a coded message: peek inside.

And what about the crack itself? “I found myself inspired by kintsugi, the Japanese art of piecing together broken parts rather than throwing them away,” says Gunawan, “The technology is unexpectedly revealed as you break the object and piece it back together.”

As an audio speaker, the Teno is no slouch either. The heart of the audio system is a single 45mm full range driver and 1 passive radiator powered by a 10W class-D amplifier. A 2800 mAh rechargeable lithium ion inside delivers 8 hours of playback at 50% volume and 4 hours of 250 lumen illumination at 100% brightness. There’s also a noise-cancelling microphone hidden within, making the Teno an operable speakerphone disguised as a centerpiece.

For additional information or to fund this project, check out the Teno Kickstarter page. Check out the Design Milk Shop for more tech ideas!

Gregory Han is the Managing Editor of Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools, and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at