"AS A PERFUMER, I SEE A CORRELATION BETWEEN MY CREATIVE PROCESS AND THAT OF AN ARCHITECT. IN A SIMILAR WAY TO A BUILDING, A PERFUME IS CONSTRUCTED FROM THE BASE NOTES, OR FOUNDATIONS, PROGRESSING UP THROUGH HEART NOTES, AND FINISHING WITH TOP NOTES. I BELIEVE THAT SOMEONE WHO LOVES CLASSIC ARCHITECTURE WILL ALSO BE DRAWN TO A CLASSIC SCENT."
he influence of 16th century Italian architect, Andrea Palladio, can be felt everywhere in Italy’s Veneto region. His classical palazzos and villas evoke the beauty, longevity and grace of Roman and Ancient Greek architecture. Across the countryside, sunrise ignites their pale columns and archways, until their honey-hued glow saturates the gardens that border them. Burgeoning verdure rushes around them, a euphony of blue sage, basil and bergamot. Nearby, chestnut, pomegranate and olive trees bow under the weight of their harvest.
With their atelier housed in a restored classical villa in Montebello Vicentino, in the heart of Veneto, Bottega Veneta have drawn on this rich sensory atmosphere, to add to their collection of perfumes, Parco Palladiano. Cereal spoke to perfumer, Aurelien Guichard, about the creation of the range.
Cereal: How do you interpret the relationship between perfume and architecture?
AG: As a perfumer, I see a correlation between my creative process and that of an architect. In a similar way to a building, a perfume is constructed from the base notes, or foundations, progressing up through heart notes, and finishing with top notes. I believe that someone who loves classic architecture will also be drawn to a classic scent. But the real sign of mastery in both perfumery and architecture is timelessness.
Cereal: Which features of Palladian architecture resonated with you the most in this process?
AG: It was the sense of space and lightness. I began to wonder, how can you infuse something with lightness? In architecture, fragrance and art, it is the same. I’ve found it is what happens between the gradient which matters; the negative space. When you visit a palazzo, you’ll notice it is beautiful; but what really enhances it is the light. That is what gives it depth and illumination. And to have light, there must be space.
Cereal: How did the themes of gardens and nature inform the creation?
AG: Italians have an amazing flair for intertwining nature and luxury. There is such opulence in Italy’s natural abundance of trees, fruits and foliage. The most beautiful thing about the gardens in Veneto is the veil of mist, which appears in the early morning. I was trying to translate the feeling of dawn light filtering through the mist and dew.
Cereal: How did you feel about creating a unisex perfume?
AG: It’s a whole new way of working. I think there can be a greater sense of modernity when you don’t create something typically feminine or masculine. I usually centre my ideas around a close friend or a notable figure, but in this case, I wanted to translate the feeling of a time and place, so it was more impersonal; there was just the moment.
Cereal: How should the scent make the wearer feel?
AG: It should make you feel something very positive. Sophisticated, in a natural and effortless way. There’s a beauty in that effortless simplicity, which is exactly what Palladian architecture represents.