It seems French industrial designer Pauline Deltour can turn her hand to anything. Since leaving Konstantin Grcic’s studio in 2009, bags, jewellery, public spaces and packaging have appeared among the designs in her portfolio. Spanning mediums, each project shares her commitment to expressive materials and under-designed functionality.
Since 2015, Deltour has been collaborating with iconic French candlemaker Cire Trudon, producing a home fragrance diffuser and a contemporary candle-snuffing tool. Both products play a part in the 450-year-old maison’s ongoing modernisation of its visual identity. Now, as the brand makes a foray into perfume for the first time, it has tapped into Deltour’s contemporary vision for the fragrance line’s glass bottles.
By now, Deltour is well-versed in Cire Trudon’s heritage-meets-contemporary aesthetic. ‘It was such a luxury to have already created two products with Cire Trudon,’ she explains. ‘It made it much easier for me to understand what they want. When we first collaborated, I was acutely aware of the company’s long history and candlemaking expertise.’
‘L'Éteignoir’ candle-snuffing tool, by Pauline Deltour, for Cire Trudon, 2016
But this time, both parties were coming to the project with fresh eyes. The five genderless fragrances created by Lyn Harris, Antoine Lie and Yann Vasnier toy with themes of ‘royalty, religion and revolution’, explains creative director Julien Pruvost. Evoking characters (including kings, parliamentarians and the proletariat), each fragrance is ‘rooted in the maison’s heritage’, yet aims to be 'modern and subversive’.
He wanted a bottle to match. Something that ‘could have been here 400 years, but was actually made yesterday’, Deltour explains. To tackle the brief, she researched extensively, making a ‘giant mood board of historical and contemporary coloured glass references’, and presented prototypes to study groups. ‘We talked a lot about tiny details – something that doesn't really happen in the glass bottle industry. We thought of everything down to the kind of reflection the sticker would produce on the bottle’s reverse, and the texture of the screw-top.’
Rendered in the maison’s signature pine-green hue, the cap is finished in textural rippled-glass, echoing Deltour’s home fragrance diffuser, released earlier this year. The bottle underneath is daringly simple, resembling the silhouette of Cire Trudon’s classic scented candles. ‘Though it might not seem like it, this was a more complex design process than my two previous Cire Trudon projects,’ Deltour offers. ‘For me, creating a bottle is like designing a watch. Each moving part is essential to the overall feel. Everything from the weight [and] volume, to the transparency of a glass bottle should affect how you experience the fragrance inside.’
This is not a scent to hide in your handbag. ‘It’s something you can have by your side, and admire, every day,’ says Deltour. It’s a privileged object – fit for both royal salon and contemporary vanity stands.