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Spotlight: 001 Stack Burner, 2021 GRAY Awards Finalist

A closer look at the 001 Stack Burner, one of four finalists in the 2021 GRAY Awards Product Design, Other category.

001 Stack Burner

Brass stacked incense burner

Meditation and the act of burning incense have been proven to be an effective way of achieving inner calm for centuries. Similar to meditation, the ritual of incense burning is now be considered a part of the mainstream, resulting in many burner designs across the marketplace. The majority of these designs share the same concept of leaving the burning stick (and its fallen ashes) exposed. Seeing a new design opportunity, Populous Project created the 001 Stack Burner.

deconstructed brass incense burner

When designing the 001 Stack Burner, the main objective was to achieve a single form that would contain and conceal everything from the naked eye, except for the most important element of burning incense: the meditative rise and movement of the scented smoke. Just as importantly, the form also needed to hold its own when not in use.

Finding inspiration in Brutalist forms and the efficiencies of Japanese stacking bento boxes, the 001 Stack Burner took on a multi-tiered pill shape. Made of hand-polished solid brass, the object has three layers: a bottom layer to store extra sticks, a middle layer containing a removable rest that holds up to three burning sticks at a time, and a cover that conceals the actively burning sticks and fallen ashes.

Brass stacked incense burner

The perforated pattern on the cover allows the smoke to emerge from the burner, evoking a peaceful ambiance to help bring you closer to calm. Over time and use, the surface of the burner will develop a patina that will only speak further to its beautiful materiality.



Brian Lin

Date of Completion: December 2020


Additional Product Design, Other finalists:

Deckhand Rigging Knife

Joyful Glassware


Check out the Quick List to see all of the 2021 GRAY Awards finalists!


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