In dense urban environments, the magic of hidden gardens happen in the most unexpected of places
Although a rarity, experiencing an intimate rooftop in New York City is one of the most splendid and surprising wonders of city life. As New Yorkers, we rarely look up as we make our way through the stone and glass canyons that surround us on our daily pilgrimage to and from work. It’s difficult to imagine that housed atop some of these structures exist tiny gems of lush intimacy - jewels in the sky that offer respite from the noise and harshness of a bustling city below.
One such place, where we had the honor of designing and hosting an intimate gathering of industry friends a few weeks ago for a night of music, dinner and drinks, was 620 Loft and Garden. One would never think that hidden atop the two, six story buildings flanking the Fifth Avenue walkway to Rockefeller Center, exists not one but two stunningly beautiful and intimate oases. Though far from being high in the sky, this intimate setting offers the most spectacular views of Midtown East and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. For the event, two long communal dining tables adorned with feathery, pinkish astilbe centerpieces under a cascading canopy of eucalyptus, were set in the middle of the garden with the scent of our Velvet Santal wafting throughout. The perfectly manicured bushes, blooming flowers and the azure reflecting pool couldn't help but give the feeling of being transported to the grounds of a lovely chateau in the French countryside, though oddly surrounded by the surreal vignettes of classic Midtown New York City.
Interested in what that night may have smelled like? Try our Velvet Santal, an exotic blend of spice, sandalwood, oud and Turkish rose absolute.
The elusive Night-Blooming Cereus is a wondrous
oddity with a spellbinding aroma
If ever there was a flower with the allure of a rarely seen, reclusive rock star, it’s the Night-Blooming Cereus (Epiphyllum Oxypetalum). Its star power will draw dedicated, adoring, champagne wielding fans to gather in remote desert locales to celebrate its one-night a year appearance. Adding to the allure is the most beautiful and magnetic aroma of all floral species, which it emits from trumpet shaped, waxy, white flowers.
The bloom, nicknamed the ‘Queen of the Night’, will arrive sometime between sunset and midnight on a summer night, usually on or close to a full moon. Over the course of just one to two hours, the petals unfold, and a thick perfume resembling magnolia or gardenia permeates the air to further intoxicate any partygoers fortunate to witness this rarity.
The Night-Blooming Cereus is a species of cactus flower and is one of the rarest plants to live in the desert. Adding to its mystique is its inconspicuousness and location - desert flats and washes between 3000 and 5000 feet above sea level, and that it is rarely seen in the wild. Although magic might seems at play for this exquisite flower, rainfall, temperature and humidity as well as the lunar cycle are key to its blooming.
Add this to our bucket list!
An interview on heritage, brand-building
and the passion for fragrance
1. How did your background in fashion/architecture help you build your brand?
Diverse backgrounds bring a completely fresh and different facet to how we approach and think about designing flowers and/or fragrances. There’s an inherent order and an anchoring to concept in architecture which bodes well in fragrance creation, and fashion is rooted in texture, color, pattern and composition, so these backgrounds have been instrumental in guiding our aesthetics and creativity, ensuring we are always looking at things from a unique perspective.
2. What are the most important qualities of your brand?
Authenticity. We are a brand whose products and services were born out of a true passion for what we do, and we are experts in our fields. But it goes further: We are interested in promoting scent that makes connections to places, history and nature with the belief that modern perfumery should be less revolutionary and more evolutionary in process - where a respect for nature, the raw materials and the art of fine craftsmanship are the foundation of our brand values.
Interested in our answers to the other questions? Read more here.
An ordinary medical device, a genius concept,
an artist’s love of nature and how it revealed
the inner beauty of flowers
True entrepreneurial and creative spirit, dictates that even the most banal of items can expose themselves to alternative uses in the most interesting and surprising ways. In the 1930’s, Dain Tasker, a doctor with a love of nature and photography, decided to turn the attention of his x-ray machine away from its everyday human patients and directed it to one of his favorite subjects: flowers. What this revealed was truly spectacular.
The stunning, ghostly images, forced us to look at flowers in a very different light. Like all great art, they presented themselves in a way we’d never seen before - ordinary flowers became extraordinary and with their anatomies now exposed for the first time, they revealed intimate body parts, corporeal structures and most interestingly, their souls.
X-rays are now used ubiquitously in science, art, construction, archaeology and several other industries, to better understand an object’s composition and state, but who would have thought that an ordinary doctor using a common medical device to check for broken bones, would open a window to the soul of flowers?
The gold standard for all rose cultivation and harvesting
comes to a close for the season
For five weeks between May and early June, in a small area of Grasse in Southern France, dozens of sun-bronzed local harvesters in straw hats move up and down the rows of bushes, gently but with purpose, snapping off their pink blooms and gingerly placing them into the apron pouches they wear. They are on a mission and time is not their friend. Like battlefield medics who understand the fragility of life, they must collect, bag and transport their fragrant bounty back to the processing facility before the rose heads begin to decompose and lose their stunningly vibrant aroma.
As the blooms pull up to the facility, men, young and old, unload dozens of burlap sacs which are quickly transferred to the plant. Inside, as the blooms await their fate in the extractors, processing vats where their oil will be expressed, men with pitchforks and shovels repeatedly “churn” the large pile of roses to keep them from crushing each other and delaying their demise. As the multi-tiered extractors are prepared, thousands of roses are then dumped in, their fate sealed inside the vats where Hexane, a powerful solvent, is pumped in to facilitate the molecular extraction of rose oil.
The result leads to a solid “concrete,” a waxy aromatic disc with the rose essence which is further processed to reveal a reddish-golden concentrated rose absolute oil. What results after this laborious process is one of the world’s most exquisite aromas in the world, which can be found in Rose Immortelle, Pétales d’Amour, Scarlet Flower and several other Belle Fleur fragrances.