Orto Botanico, Milan
within “Energy for Creativity”
13 April – 24 May 2015
BE OPEN, the international foundation created by entrepreneur and philanthropist Elena Baturina which operates in the field of design and creativity, has chosen the Botanical Garden of Brera as the amazing background of a sophisticated interdisciplinary project whose central theme is perfume.
The Garden of Wonders. A Journey Through Scents will be presented on the occasion of EXPO 2015 in May, with a special preview during the Milan Design Week in April, due to the aesthetic and philosophical features this products embodies.
BE OPEN decided to explore the world of fragrances by especially focusing on some historic brands which have disappeared, international excellences whose fame has decreased over the years because of a sometimes-too-aggressive global market. The exhibition is the second stop of the global project “Made in…”, BE OPEN’s investigative tour on the virtuous relationship between contemporary design and the excellence of small producers at the four corners of the earth. The research on perfume focuses on the heritage of values of small business realities, communities which have been able to pass on traditions, expertise and relationships over the years.
The foundation has invited 8 designers to reinterpret the history and features of 8 defuncts perfume brands according to their sensitivity: they will act as Art Directors in order to show that design can become a strong point for small entities requiring a new commercial life to meet the challenges of the contemporary global market.
Among theme Fernando&Humberto Campana and Dimore Studio have respectively worked on French brand Biette and Italian perfume house Bertelli.
‘We’re very happy to be part of the exhibition as we share BE OPEN’s goal of rescuing traditions that are disappearing. We tried to give Biette a new life and a fresh look through our design universe’, says Fernando Campana.
‘We were inspired by sea creatures so we designed a porcelain bottle of perfume in the shape of a marine animal. Then, for the conceptual installation our influence was a cave named ‘Gruta do Veredas’ located in the state of Bahia in Brazil. The shape of the wicker installation we created to host the bottle of perfume reminds us of the paths of this cave. For the packaging we created a black box in cardboard covered in synthetic fur’, adds Humberto Campana.
Biette was established by four brothers, Georges, Michel, Lionel and Maxime at rue Beausejour, Nantes, France in 1882. They had branches in major cites in Europe, Africa and the USA and produced spectacular soap and toiletry sets; in the 1920s They started introducing superb perfume presentations. Biette ceased trading and production in the 1950s.
Dimore Studio worked on the Italian brand Bertelli. Founded in Milan in 1888 by pharmacist Achille Bertelli, the brand survived until the 1960s. Over the years they collaborated with celebrated designers Renée Lalique and Julien Viard who created bottles and packaging for some of its products, besides having Greta Garboendorsing their fragrance As You Desire Me.
Emiliano Salci and Britt Moran explain: ‘The inspiration come from the idea of taking elements able to evoke olfactory sensations. It is a spell braking itself into nature and, by doing so, it emanates refractions, mirrorings, cross-references and quotes of reminiscences. It is a past which is born again to a new life in a re-invented fragrance. Rain washes, distill and collects in a block of onyx the essences expanded by nature.”
The two installations above mentioned, together with the ones by Tord Boontje, Front, Jaime Hayon, Lissoni Associati, Jean-Marie Massaud and Nendo will be within a diffused museum created by Ferruccio Laviani.
The Garden of Wonders is inspired by the history of perfume and the history of raw materials from all over the world; each perfume represented a real and imaginary journey of goods and cultures making it anante litteram global product. In more recent years the relationship between fragrances and the look of the packages has become more and more intense, to such an extent that it has created well-defined brand identities, some of which are still used today.