Building foundations with Jean Nouvel and Frank Gehry
Even seasoned travellers welcome the insight of the right sort of local, a gently guiding hand in new territories or a fresh take on the familiar. With this in mind, Wallpaper* in collaboration with Tudor watches has produced a series of Style Files; country-specific, cliché-dodging dossiers and in-the-field notes for the contemporary explorer who really knows where they are going.
Geza Schoen’s groundbreaking brand Escentric Molecules is very fixedly not the sort of thing that gets spritzed onto unwilling businessmen in the duty-free store at Munich airport by badly made-up promotional dollies.
Schoen is a molecular maverick, questioning the very notion of perfume, taking the craft back to its roots and isolating the various components to create startlingly potent reductions of very particular, sensual aromas. His ‘single scent products’ – one made from ambroxan, an olfactory substitute for a substance naturally produced by sperm whales – make a cultish, experimental stand in a marketplace crammed with blended, disparate potions. ‘I work with a repertoire of raw materials, so-called aroma chemicals and natural products – essential oils, resins or absolutes,’ says Geza, explaining the science bit. ‘With these i create small accords of three to six ingredients.’ escentric Molecules, it’s worth noting, are rumoured to have a subtly devastating effect in spontaneous romantic encounters.
Schoen’s lifestyle is similarly, stylishly distilled. Kassel-born, he has worked in London, Singapore, New York and Paris, but he now prefers the bohemian pace and design ethos of Berlin. he has an ascetic approach to relaxation, riding his bicycle around town on contemplative jaunts and hanging out at his favourite café, a.horn, in the Kreuzberg district, a brunch haven with a bicycle workshop. Design-wise, he admits to an admiration for Bauhaus, Dieter Rams (his dad’s still-working Braun hi-fi in particular),Jil Sander and Kostas Murkurdis, as well as Berlin’s thriving art and club culture. Mmm. Wonder what a Schoen-conducted reduction of nightclub would smell like?