We’re big Fuglen fans here at Sprudge, following the brand from its roots in Oslo to its twin home in Tokyo, with an occasional New York City pop-up in-between. But a recent scroll through Instagram had us agog at where the brand’s Tokyo team are headed with packaging, anchored by the work of Norwegian contemporary artist Bendik Kaltenborn, whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Le Monde, The Washington Post, and in a recent design collaboration with Aēsop skincare.
Part big city deco, part bunga-zoom Italian mod, with a healthy dose of Cuban-born artist Antonio Prohías thrown in for good measure (he’s the creator of Spy vs. Spy), Bendik’s work for Fuglen is stirring comic art in a coffee context. To learn more about the story behind these bags we spoke with Kenji Kojima, manager of Fuglen Tokyo.
As told to Sprudge by Kenji Kojima.
Tell us a bit about your company.
Fuglen was established in Oslo back in 1963, and then opened the first foreign branch in Tokyo in 2012. We also run our own roastery, Fuglen Coffee Roasters, which was established 2 years after that, in 2014. We are not just a regular coffee shop that only serves coffee; we also sell Norwegian and Scandinavian vintage furniture, and serve some “real” cocktails in the night time.
When did the coffee package design debut?
We have been working with the package design since 2015, and finally launched it at the Fuglen Coffee Roasters’ 2nd anniversary in September 2016.
Who designed the package?
The package is designed by a Norwegian illustrator, Bendik Kaltenborn, who is a good friend of ours.
What coffee information do you share on the package?
Name of the coffee region, origin, variety, process, elevation, tasting profile, roast date.
What is this magical, mysterious creature on the front of the package?
The character illustrated on the package is a parrot called Jacko, which was a real parrot kept in cage at Fuglen Oslo from 1963 until 1985. It is a story-based illustration, where Jacko is drinking coffee and visiting different coffee producing regions.
Where is the bag manufactured?
What type of package is it?
The package is made of a material kind that reminds of washi (Japanese traditional paper). It comes with a zip lock, and has a valve that allows air out of the bag. Each package is 200g.
Is the package recyclable/compostable?
Unfortunately, the current package we have is not recyclable. Japan is behind in environmental issues, and therefore it is difficult to obtain recyclable bags here in Japan. However, we are planning to switch the bag into recyclable/compostable within the year.
Where is it currently available?
The bag is available at Fuglen Tokyo, Fuglen Oslo, and several coffee shops mainly in Tokyo, but also in other prefectures across Japan as well. It is also available at our online store.
Company: Fuglen Coffee
Design Date: September, 2016
Designer: Bendik Kaltenborn