Flowers are there at all the most important moments in life – weddings, births, deaths – and CALMING PARK, a company whose candles are made in Grasse, France, believes there’s only one comparable modern day object, the scented candle.
To founder Olivier Rohrbach, scented candles embody the same symbolism and provide the equivalent desire we have from flowers – for them to act as our calm and still companions as we make our way through life.
From 5-20 February 2010, CALMING PARK will present the exhibition ‘Art&Candle’ at Holm in Zurich. The exhibition shows the work of seven internationally renowned artists. (I’m one of them, though feel completely undeserving to be showing with such amazing talent.) The seven of us reveal through our work what happens when scented candles meet luxury, fashion, music, spirituality and the visual arts.
So let’s meet the seven showing artists:
Photographer Agi Simoes’ work has been seen in Vogue Living, Elle Decoration, AD and many more titles. For Art&Candle he created five ambassadors and these male models represent the sensual, natural, exotic, fresh and erotic side of the candles. The ‘5 scents/5men’ photo shoot took place in the gardens and parks of Zurich, with the models wearing their own favourite jeans to give the images that personal, natural feeling.
Bruno Pieters, nominated ‘Fashion Designer of the Year’ by the prestigious Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent Foundation, is best known for his work as the designer of Hugo by Hugo Boss. For this project he designed the candle ‘Dark Pepper’, a chic and minimalist candle wrapped in black glass whose scent is inspired by his favourite eau de toilette.
For Sabina Sciubba, lead singer of the Brazilian Girls, whose ‘New York’ record was nominated for a Grammy, the candle became the collision point between music and video. In the video for the song ‘So Close Yet So Far’ the faint glow from a CALMING PARK candle accompanies her sultry guitar performance.
The quintessential embodiment of Paris chic, theatre and movie actress Arielle Dombasle, is also an accomplished singer and was inspired by her latest album ‘Glamour à Mort’ (sentence fashion to death) to create a candle with this spirit. The result is Tubereuse-Musc made by the Grasse experts with direction from Arielle.
Bruno Pienado, a key figure of the French contemporary art scene who mixes, samples and recycles popular contemporary iconography like flyers, comics and video games, gave the CALMING PARK tree logo a new pop and playful life. He said, “I take back the image, going back to its roots, to understand how it works. The most important thing to me is to give a new life to these images.”
OeO, the Copenhagen based design consultancy are best known for their role as Creative Directors of Mater, the award-winning Danish ethical home accessories brand, and as part of the creative team behind Georg Jensen. They created a reflective scent that conveyed their perception and memory of Tokyo, so with one whiff they could be back there “whenever and wherever.”
And as for myself, I created a digital media presentation inspired by the nature of light and shadows in people’s personalities. It’s only when we can see and accept the shadows and light in all people, circumstances and situations do we have any hope of becoming whole.
I just thought, we’re so fractured, especially in how we direct our attention today, that a sunken hearth in the home, where CALMING PARK scented incense resins and powders would burn over charcoal tablets, could be a possible future interpretation of the scented candle. By taking pride of place in the home, the hearth would be the gathering place for family and friends and a focal point to reconnect and rebalance.
So if you’re in Zurich, do head to Holm to check out the Art&Candle exhibition. A selection of candles will also be available for purchase at the boutique. I may be biased, but it’s fascinating to see how scented candles have become the de rigeur item for the modern home and to witness these amazing artistic interpretations of light and scent, calmness and stillness.