Scents with stories: Japanese artist Takahashi Hiroko releases personal home fragrances

Five black and white pots and incense holders with bold patterns
Tokyo-based artist Takahashi Hiroko channels her Japanese youth in a series of five home fragrances – called 'Japanese Stories' – which are inspired by past experiences from her hometown
(Image credit: TBC)

Certain scents have a Proustian appeal, taking us back to a certain time, person or place, triggering buried memories. Now, Tokyo-based artist Takahashi Hiroko has channelled this notion in a series of five home fragrances – called 'Japanese Stories' – which are inspired by past experiences from her hometown. 

Hiroko, a graduate of Tokyo University of the Arts, is largely known for her signature pattern work, and her geometric and monochrome designs of circles, polka dots and stripes are apparent here in the collection's bone china holders.

Made up of room diffusers and scented candles, the minimalist set's five fragrances – 'Go', 'Yon', 'Ichi', 'San' and 'Ni' – are meant to be evocative of the artist's youthful experiences, details of which Hiroko has shared. For instance, with 'Yon', the scent is 'reminiscent of an early afternoon where nobody is around. A fragrant smell that comes when rushing on a bicycle, feeling the wind, through narrow alleys edged with flowers, among rows of old Tokyo houses. Without a thought I stop, turn and look back. Realising it is a moment to cherish.' This intimate experience manifests itself in top notes of burnt caramel, through nutty popcorn and coffee, down to resin and myrrh – a fragrant tour of hidden Tokyo spots from Hiroko's past.

'Japanese Stories' has been produced in collaboration with BlissHome and is set to go on sale from mid-August. 

Two reed diffusers with black packaging. The left has a fan design and the right has spots and stripes

Her geometric and monochrome designs are apparent in the bone china holders of the collection. The 'Go' reed diffuser, pictured left, is inspired by summer holidays, with notes of grapefruit and cedarwood. 'Yon', pictured right, incudes notes of burnt caramel and resin

(Image credit: TBC)

A candle in a black and white jar with fan design, alongside a reed diffuser with geometric design

'Go' candle, pictured left. 'Ichi', pictured right, evokes a clear night after a deluge – ozonic scents of wet grass and fuel

(Image credit: TBC)

Two black and white jars with bold patterns, one containing a candle and the other a reed diffuser

The 'San' reed diffuser, pictured left, evokes a silent dawn with notes of bergamot, cinnamon and patchouli. 'Ni' candle, pictured right, factors coriander, hot metal and an earthy base note

(Image credit: TBC)

Sujata Burman is a writer and editor based in London, specialising in design and culture. She was Digital Design Editor at Wallpaper* before moving to her current role of Head of Content at London Design Festival and London Design Biennale where she is expanding the content offering of the showcases. Over the past decade, Sujata has written for global design and culture publications, and has been a speaker, moderator and judge for institutions and brands including RIBA, D&AD, Design Museum and Design Miami/. In 2019, she co-authored her first book, An Opinionated Guide to London Architecture, published by Hoxton Mini Press, which was driven by her aim to make the fields of design and architecture accessible to wider audiences.