One of the most rewarding aspects of the Japanese approach to design is the free rein that its practitioners are given to explore areas outside of their usual creative sphere. Since founding his Tokyo-based design studio, Curiosity, back in 1998, French born Gwenaël Nicolas has adapted to this philosophy with remarkable ease. The designer can boast everything from high-end store concepts to furniture design on his résumé. (Remember the social media frenzy after Fendi unveiled their breathtaking spiked wall display?)
Nicholas' latest project is his second foray into fragrances. The limited run of 300 bottles has been produced in collaboration with Japanese perfumer Mami Sugimoto, and is inspired by the idea that 'eternity exists in each and every moment'. The beautifully sculpted glass bottle takes the form of a water drop suspended in time, capturing a moment of rare and unexpected natural beauty.
The fragrance itself is reminiscent of a walk through a garden towards a Japanese teahouse. The scents of hinoki cypress, fresh leaves and bergamot clear the mind, while the sweet wagashi, cinnamon, tea and sandalwood combine to create a sense of serenity.
The accompanying monograph release, also called Curiosity Essence, takes a look at some of the key influences on the designer's seminal works, including projects with Louis Vuitton and Issey Miyake. In particular, the Japanese concept of 'deai', or 'the art of the encounter', is instrumental to his design process. Nicolas seeks to transcend the more traditional ideal of beauty as perfection, instead emphasising the connection between two or more different entities as art.