When you began working with Clemens to create the Ignant Scent, how did you come to understand the mood or atmosphere of Ignant?
Manuel: With Ignant, Clemens has created a very specific aesthetic from a wide selection of photographers, artists, and creators, as well as his own work. It’s a whole world that exists without actually being a brand that formed around a product. Usually, you create a product and then you form a world around it, though the world is not real. But for Ignant, the world is the real thing. It’s so strongly visual, but there are a lot of haptic qualities too. The images are very clean, but they contain things that you can’t actually see. I can’t see that it’s so soft or that it’s so warm. But somehow it is because otherwise, it wouldn’t look the way it does. It’s very intuitive. So the scent has to connect in this moment intuitively.
Shizuko: Of course, there’s no one answer for translating an abstract concept into the form of olfactory language, but it’s an interpretation that we tried to approach from many different angles—many different senses—to find an interesting match that gives you a sense of familiarity on one side yet, yet that is a very abstract new experience. We don’t rely so much on comfort or pleasantness. If the world has a certain tension or direction, we take care to keep the integrity.
Manuel: It also has to be iconic enough or recognizable enough that you remember it.
Shizuko: It has to stop you, and you can be a bit uncomfortable or
challenged so that you can question it a bit.
Which references did Clemens share to form your creative starting point?
Shizuko: Clemens shared two directions that we brought together. The first embodies calm and focus. It’s minimal, reduced, and tidy, but still really kind and thoughtful. The temperature is a bit paler and cooler, but at the same time, it’s warm and human. You feel a good balance in that sense. Contemplation, tactility, neutrality, materials, and impressions lead to a deeper sensation or experience. Calm and focus offered a counterbalance here.
Similarly, with the visual tonality, it’s focused but it’s not a sharp, energetic, stimulated focus. It’s more like you’re sitting down, you have a centered energy, a really earthy, on-the-ground kind of feeling. It may sound contrary, but to have this sense of focus through calmness was interesting. Disproportionality was also something we talked about — what is balance. Is balance harmony, and if something is so very balanced, would that be interesting? Clemens’s view on balance is slightly disproportionate from the usual sense. But if you portray this disproportion well, it’s really comfortable or it’s beautiful.
Manuel: Also as an outcome, it doesn’t become as sleek as you might imagine the concept to be. It’s kind of organic, in a way.
Shizuko: The second reference we talked about was walking on the forest floor—this smell or experience of walking through a layer of leaves, the pinecones, the wet earth. Those elements were also inside, as part of the forest. Old green nature, wood, moss, herbs, landscapes and scenery.