It was during Copenhagen’s 3 Days of design festival (2016) when I first met Lena. Frama had opened its doors to launch their showroom and new product lines. The converted apothecary, now Frama showroom, on the corner of Fredericiagade balances the original ornate features with pared back minimalism. A perfect space to exhibit new designs.
There Frama showcased the new St Pauls Apothecary collection named after the former apothecary. And while smelling the samples of the cedar based perfume and lotions, a smiling face approached, Lena.
We got chatting about the beautiful fragrances and the design of the packaging. The grey glass bottles of the hand wash and cream instantly caught my eye. Admittedly I kinda lost my cool (of which I have non anyway) about how excited I was that Frama had launched this range and how beautiful it was. Lena (naturally WAY cooler than me) was equally as excited to hear this as she had developed all of the Apothecary collection herself. Her profession, a fragrance developer.
I started to question why during an interior design festival I was wanting to know more about a cosmetic range. I am not a beauty blogger and it didn’t seem like it was being marketed to that audience either. Furniture and lighting is what Frama was initially known for, but they have gone that step further to create a lifestyle concept. One where each item within the home has context, artistic expression, a story and a high quality considered design presence. There was something about the Apothecary collection that spoke. It wasn’t just the packaging. It had soul and I had no idea how.
scent becoming part of the design portfolio
Two years on and I found myself obsessing over the range even more, when I discovered it in the bathrooms of the Skt. Petri hotel lobby. Frama and the Skt. Petri hotel had collaborated! (I cheered) The Apothecary collection had expanded its range to include haircare, body wash and lotion. They are now the exclusive toiletries for the Skt Petri hotel rooms. Skt Petri hotel has a profound design history and story, making it a perfect fit for Frama to collaborate as they see a story in everything they do.
I met with Lena to discuss the new range and to learn more about the creativity behind developing fragrances. There was a link between the Apothecary range and it becoming such a great success in the interiors world that I still needed to understand.
behind the bottle
It all began when Lena was a child creating fragrances with her grandmother. She had learnt the basics and that had become what is now a lifelong passion. Her career path included many years in the fashion industry. Fashion being another key passion and inspiration for her later work with fragrance.
With no idea how fragrances are developed, I assumed it was very clinical. I’m imagining a lab coat, white room, fluorescent lighting etc. Then Lena told me about her approach is much more natural and holistic.
Like any artist or designer it all starts with a mood board and inspiration. For Lena it’s the simple things in life, the people she meets, books she reads, travel, nature, colour, design, art and fashion. Lena collects memories and items to inspire her for when she’s ready to create.
In her private studio, absorbed with inspiration, classical music playing, Lena relaxes and develops her fragrances. All of the perfumes she creates are mixed with 100% natural essential oils. These are sourced by Lena from all around the world with a great detail of research. She has even driven to the top of a mountain in Grasse, France to retrieve unique organic oils.
This design process, an idyllic one, is developed to express her inspiration and storytelling through the art of fragrance.
Curious to know what the next product will be, I asked Lena about any future products. She then presented me with a bag filled with research. Books, photographs, mood boards, exhibition leaflets, clothing including a story of a certain wood and how it smells. Her inspiration.
In short, the aim is to create an end product. Similarly to a painter, you expect a painting as the result. It’s down to the personal expression from said painter that creates a unique and authentic result.
Lena began to talk through this abundant amount of research. Which I had only been shown a small amount of. I could tell you what was in the bag. Though I won’t. All things considered, I appreciate that this creative process is incredibly personal to Lena. I’m so thankful to have had a peek into the inspiration.
The next collection looks to be exciting not to mention a perfect fit for Frama. All I can say is that there will be a new Eau de parfum launching this May (2019) during 3 days of design.
Design comes in many forms. And now when viewing Lena’s fragrances alongside hand crafted interior products it becomes clear that they hold their place and belong.
Fragrance developer Lena Norling – firstname.lastname@example.org
Written and photographed by Hannah Trickett