Behind the scenes at Diptyque

We go behind the scenes at Diptyque, famous for its elegant scented candles, as the French label celebrates the 50th anniversary of its first fragrance

BY AMY BRADFORD

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In 2018, Diptyque celebrates the 50th anniversary of its debut fragrance, the ground-breaking 'L'Eau', launched in 1968. The first unisex scent, inspired by its heady revolutionary era, it drew on a Renaissance recipe of spices, clove and cinnamon. To mark the occasion, the French luxury label has launched two new perfumes: 'Fleur de Peau' (a seductive floral featuring iris, musk and ambrette seeds) and 'Tempo' (a woody mix of patchouli and violet leaf), nods both to the Sixties and that original feisty fragrance. What better time to go behind the scenes at this much-loved perfume and home fragrance brand, respected as much for its iconic designs as its artfully crafted scents?

Diptyque’s jumbo-sized scented candles, packaged in ceramic holders, are probably the most covetable of all its many products. An investment buy at €230 (or £200 in the UK), they weigh a hefty 1.5kg and burn for up to 150 hours. Recently, Diptyque has updated the colours of these candles to make them even more beautiful, with ‘Tubéreuse’ available in a glossy plum-coloured vessel and ‘Figuier’ in a vivid green. There’s also a new large version of the brand’s best-selling ‘34’ fragrance in matt and glossy white.

TOP: Diptyque's two new scents for 2018, 'Fleur de Peau' and 'Tempo', channelling the swinging Sixties; £115 for 75ml. ABOVE RIGHT: This year is the 50th anniversary of the brand's first fragrance, the genderless 'L'Eau', adorned with a signature illustrated label.

As with everything at Diptyque, the story behind the product is as interesting as the end result. We were lucky enough to travel to the South of France to see the ceramic candle vessels being made, at the factory of Virebent, a pottery that has been making porcelain and stoneware since 1924. Set in the picturesque Lot valley, on the outskirts of the historic town of Puy-l’Evêque, Virebent started off making industrial ceramics, but branched out into decorative pottery in the 1960s (it now makes porcelain lighting and tableware for cult French brand Tsé & Tsé Associées, among others; if you’re in Puy-l’Evêque, be sure to visit its excellent factory shop).

ABOVE: Diptyque recently updated the colours of its large scented candles, adding plum-hued 'Tubéreuse' and white '34 Boulevard Saint Germain' to the range. BELOW: Outsize scented candle 'Figuier' now comes in gorgeous green, or opt for investment buy 'Baies' in black. All are suitable for indoors or outside.

At the Virebent workshop, a small band of dedicated artisans lovingly craft the candle vessels by hand, pouring liquid stoneware into moulds and then leaving them to air dry once they have set (this process takes at least two days, even in warm, dry weather). After that, the vessels are spray-enamelled and taken off to the kiln to bake – any that don’t emerge with a perfectly rich, even depth of colour in their glaze are ground down and recycled as sand (Diptyque inspectors approve or reject every single one). As for the scented wax? That is poured at another factory altogether, which means each giant candle has been on its own long journey before it makes its way to the shop floor and, in turn, to you. If you buy one of these candles, you’re investing in not just one kind of French craftsmanship, but several. Why not splash out? Perhaps for your own special anniversary...
diptyqueparis.fr  diptyqueparis.co.uk  virebent.com  tse-tse.com

BELOW: A video celebrating the 50th anniversary of the brand's first perfume. We also liked these Diptyque Facebook videos sharing the artwork behind 2018 scents 'Fleur de Peau' (illustrated by Dimitri Rybaltchenko) and 'Tempo(illustrated by Safia Ouares); click fragrance names to see the films

IKEA x Ilse Crawford: The New Natural

IKEA's debut collaboration with British designer Ilse Crawford represents a trend towards natural, tactile materials in our increasingly virtual world. Shop this amazing homewares collection from August

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

'The more virtual our lives become, the more we crave the physical,' says acclaimed London-based designer and interior decorator Ilse Crawford. It's the sentiment that inspired her gorgeous new 'Sinnerlig' collection of furniture, lighting and tabletop pieces for Swedish homewares giant IKEA, which features natural, raw materials such as cork, glass, ceramic, cotton, seagrass and bamboo that feel as good as they look. Encompassing more than 30 pieces for the home, aimed at 'adding value to the experience of everyday living', the collection celebrates the beauty and tactility of raw materials and natural fibres, and the imperfections that arise in their production – part of a growing trend away from glossy surfaces and slick, ornate designs. It's also beautifully understated, subtle and minimal, allowing clear glass, smooth ceramic and touchy-feely cork to do the talking. Think simple, useful forms for quieter, more low-key interiors.

A made-up word, 'Sinnerlig' combines the Swedish terms for sensuous and heartfelt. Standout pieces include tables, benches and stools topped with thin layers of cork, outsize glass vases and hand-blown bottles, dark ceramic jugs, plates and planters, bamboo-lattice pendant lights, seagrass baskets and floor mats. Among the material mixes, it's the use of cork that is most striking, chosen for its eco-friendly qualities (see our 2014 cork trend for more on this sustainable star). Cork is renewable, durable, an acoustic softener, waterproof and easy to clean, and you'll see it here in light and dark tones on table and seat tops, lamp bases and as jar stoppers. Crawford's practice Studioilse embarked on research missions to Portugal, Poland, China and Vietnam to source suitable natural materials which would respond well to industrial production; the resulting range should prove a hit with eco warriors, architects and style fans alike.

TOP ROW FROM LEFT: Bamboo, cork and glass offer natural tactility
ABOVE FROM LEFT: Furniture spans day-beds, tables and stools 

'Sinnerlig' divides loosely into three areas; lounging, dining and working. Each group has a key piece at its heart – day-bed (very mid-century Scandi!), dining table or trestle table. The idea is that you can use them flexibly to fit in with the way you live, with neutral colours that complement any home. 'The range is quite low-key but we deliberately designed it like that,' says Crawford. 'It's not trying to compete with those fantastic icons of design. It's a different thing. They are helpful background pieces not showstoppers.'

Launched during February's Stockholm Design Week at the city's seductive Ett Hem hotel, also designed by Crawford, the range is due in shops from August. For a quiet collection, we reckon it's going to make a lot of noise...
ikea.com

IKEA's 'Sinnerlig' collection will be in global stores from August 2015. Check back with us for product names and prices nearer the launch.

Ilse Crawford portrait by Stef Bakker  studiobakker.nl