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Monocle Scent One: Hinoki


Comme des Garçons, the avant garde Japanese fashion house founded by Rei Kawakubo has curated a fragrance, Monocle Scent One: Hinoki, (available in EdT and as a candle) with Monocle, a premium media brand with a focus on global affairs, business, style, culture and design.

The Comme des Garçons label was founded on an aggression against the dominant global culture, with a punk aesthetic, spanning class lines and challenging the notions of beauty in a traditional sense.

The Hinoki tree, a type of Japanese cypress, is a surprisingly ubiquitous wood (and scent) throughout Japan.  Due to its rot-resistant properties, Hinoki is commonly used in the construction of Japanese shrines, temples, baths, outdoor bus stops, and even ping-pong paddles.  For many Japanese, the sweet, woody-herbal scent is instantly recognizable and often nostalgic.

Charles Ray, Hinoki, 2007
Designed by perfumer Antoine Maisondieu, Monocle Scent One: Hinoki is truly striking.  Its first impression has a tight, woody, herbal effect – cooling with a piney-camphoraceous quality.  Cedar and cypress mix with oakmoss, and a contrast exists between hard, icy green lines and the rather warm, sweet effect of polished blonde woods.

As if wiping steam off a plate glass window, the fragrance opens into a beautiful expanse, with a purity that recalls still, glassy fresh water – I emphasize fresh water as it is not at all aquatic.  The design of this fragrance was inspired by the woody smell of Japanese ofuro (bathhouses) and Scandinavian forests.

In my opinion, they’ve hit the nail on the head perfectly here.

There is something soothing – almost meditative – about this fragrance, recalling clear skies and calm arctic evenings.   Maybe a result of the slightly medicinal effect of camphor, perhaps from the soft laundry-like scent of Iso E Super (used to impart woody notes, and often used in detergents).  Either way, Monocle Scent One: Hinoki feels like fresh snow in an infinite forest, hushed by the warmth of powder-soft cashmere.  The dry down presents an earthy-smokiness – an extinguished campfire with a touch of incense.

To top it off, the strong lines and minimal woods are a nice olfactive nod to Monocle’s visual and philosophical aesthetic:  Clean and to the point, yet complex, interesting, and truly international.

Set foot in the Monocle shop on Hudson Street in Manhattan’s West Village, and the scent of Hinoki will envelop you.  For many it’s just a pleasant aroma, but for some, the smell conjures up powerful memories – some easier to place than others.  One customer had trouble placing the fragrance until he realized the bus stop at which he waited for seventeen years of his life was constructed of Hinoki wood.  Others recognize the scent from ofuro, wooden Japanese baths, like the ones at Kyoto’s uber-luxurious, centuries-old Tawaraya hotel, where the fragrance was inspired.

Scent as a common thread between people, cutting through socioeconomic boundaries and binding citizens of the same homeland.  Sweet, isn’t it?




unto thee i

burn incense

the bowl crackles

upon the gloom arise purple pencils


fluent spires of fragrance

the bowl


a flutter of stars


a turbulence of forms

delightful with indefinable flowering,

the air is

deep with desirable flowers


i think

thou lovest incense

for in the ambiguous faint aspirings

the indolent frail ascensions,


of thy smile rises the immaculate


of thy low

hair flutter the level litanies


unto thee i burn

incense, over the dim smoke

straining my lips are vague with

ecstasy my palpitating breasts inhale the





of thy beauty, my heart discovers thee



whom i




– e. e. cummings



Salone del Mobile: New Classics


via nowness.com | Photo © Estelle Hanania

Design critic, editor and author of The Independent Design Guide, Laura Houseley handpicked the highlights of this year’s Salone Internazionale del Mobile for today’s slideshow. Houseley has been covering the fair, which extends to over 400 locations across Milan and annually lures a who’s who of furniture and product design, for 13 years. “The younger, independent designers had a good year,” she says.
Read the rest of this article @ NOWNESS »


Julius Shulman: Los Angeles

via nowness.com | Photo by Julius Shulman

The mid-century modern landmarks that have come to epitomize California are collected in a new book, Julius Shulman Los Angeles: The Birth of a Modern Metropolis, which we excerpt above. A collaboration between Sam Lubell, the West Coast editor of the Architect’s Newspaper, and Douglas Woods, author of last year’s Classic Homes of Los Angeles, the tome brings together seven decades of work by the late New York–born photographer.
Read the rest of this article @ NOWNESS »


The Art of Flying


via theglassmagazine.com | Michail Pirgelis, Bateleur 2011

German-born, Cologne-based Greek artist Michail Pirgelis creates his sculptures out of decommissioned airplane parts. Even before knowing that fact, his first solo exhibition at Spruth Magers London consumes the viewer nonetheless – there is a striking visual quality in these weighty and simple objects.
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Logomo café by Tobias Rehberger


via designws.com | photo by Bo Stranden

German artist Tobias Rehberger has created in collaboration with Artek a comprehensive art installation called Nothing happens for a reason at the Logomo café. This is not the first cooperation by Rehberger and Artek.
In 2009, Tobias Rehberger was awarded with a Golden Lion for Best Artist at the Venice Biennale for the permanent installation he created for Palazzo delle Esposizioni in cooperation with Artek.
Read the rest of this article @ Design News »