the FOUR

Tell us about yourself:

I’m a self-made man. Some people call me a creative director, a graphic designer, art director or whatever, that’s really not important. What is important is that I always follow my heart. The things I do are built on a very strong belief that we can make the world a more beautiful place. Over the past years I’ve been focussing more and more on brand building in its broadest sense. A very holistic approach where we touch every corner of a brand to create one complete and strong universe. We call that ‘Elegant Creativity’. For over 10 years we’ve been doing this for several national and international clients, as a partner at Tenue de Nîmes, and at this moment at …,staat. And just now I’m beyond proud to share the work I did for Abel.

What is your connection to Abel?

About a year ago Frances and Dave visited me in my studio, telling that Abel was doing really well since it started a few years ago, but was going in a direction they didn’t feel happy with. They gave us a carte blanche to re-build the Abel brand, leaving only the name and soul untouched. Together Chris van Veghel and I started to research, doing a deep dive into the world of fragrances. Quite quickly we found there was this fantastic story behind natural perfumes – that they really live on your skin. They won’t last forever and are always changing, a concept we found to be really strong and so we started to build up the brand around this idea. Of fluidity, the always flowing, disappearing and reappearing and the the idea of a living fragrance. Basically everything is built around this concept. From photography with natural light and shadows beautifully captured by Sophie Tajan, to a logo of the A which is almost disappearing. From the notes capturing memories of places and moments to this very natural touch in the packaging, how the bottle sits in your hand or the natural ceramic touch of the cap. We’ve been working on the project for over a year, basically touching every part of the brand we felt necessary – seeing it coming together beautifully in the packaging and the website was really inspiring and gave a lot of energy throughout the process.

What is your favourite fragrance and how does it make you feel?

I love them all and they all have moments where they really complete the current mood; but there are two that are my favourites. White vetiver and grey labdanum. White Vetiver fits more with my summer mood whereas Grey Labdanum reminds me of Mediterranean coasts, fresh spring breeze, endless roads, nature. When I was a kid we visited the Swiss Alps almost every summer, did endless walks through the mountains enjoying nature to the fullest. They both kind of bring back those memories. But Grey Labdanum also reminds me of playing the cello. The smell of the rosin when you gently rubbed it into the horsehair of the bow. The hours and hours of making music, studying, repeating those tricky parts over and over again. Both highly authentic moments of solitude, close to nature and music. It’s good that a fragrance brings back moments like these, really love that!

What’s inspiring you at the moment?

I just got back from a trip to Tuscany where we woke up every morning before sunrise, above the clouds, looking out over the thin rows of cypresses, faraway hills catching first sunlight, sound of birds below in the valley and endless olive trees around us. It reminded me that we all so much need to have this touch with nature now and then, and preferably more than a few times a year. There was this article that also resonates with me a lot about the scientific proof of Shinrin-Yoku or ‘forest bathing’. We really just need to be in nature to stay healthy. A very inspiring idea and reminder to go #outsideisfree.

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