Parfums de Nietzsche, the perfume search for the meaning of life
2022 . 05 . 26 |
Laurent is searching for the truth and for the meaning of life at large. Perfumes belong to his never-ending quest and deep determination to find a new emotion.
Duality as a Key to Solve Life.
Laurent Assoulen is both an artist and a philosopher. He resonates both with olfactive and music vibrations. He does not show the path one needs to take to understand the meaning of life. He just opens the door with a harmony key that has a magic code 'N'. His brand was not meant to be a brand but only an experimental project. Parfums de Nietzsche creates the unique equation 1+1= 3. 'Übermensch’ or ‘Surhomme” is the outcome of 'Transparent' and 'Black' assembled together. Two opposites complementing each other with perfect coherence. Who knows where the two new perfume releases will take us to?
Question: I must start by asking you to explain your life philosophical search.
In my opinion, life is about exploring oneself and for as long as one is looking, the quest is infinite. One must find one’s own path leading to harmony, understanding and logic. Where a sense of purpose is clear.
Question: So how is perfume contributing to your existential quest?
Perfume is meaningful and fundamental in the embellishment of my day; it enriches the person I have decided to be on that specific day. Perfume adds to my deep inner self and allows my emotions to freely express themselves. The power of scents became clear to me when as a teenager guessing the perfumes of all my classmates granted me a social network status. It was a key to acquire friends and earn their respect. By decoding their intimacy, they felt at my mercy. I embarked on the memorisation project of the widest list of perfumes ever. Perfumes became a game as well as a weapon of seduction.
Question: So why did you join the perfume world later in life and concentrated first on your music?
My studies at the music academy enabled me to earn my living as a jazz musician while being a student at the university. When it was time to look for a job, perfume was already my passion without thinking that it could be a job. Passion drove me to meet different perfumers who shared with me their thrills and emotions for the perfume industry. I decided that I wanted to join their world so full of life and one where I felt at home. For 10 years, I was a project manager working for Quest, Robertet and Takasago.
I needed to go back to freedom in my creativity
Question: Tell us why you decided to become independent.
Going on my own allowed myself to be free in my creation process. One event in my life made me realise I had to go back to both music and freedom. This event was the Montreal jazz festival in August 2004*. I was lucky enough to be invited to ‘jam sessions’, improvisation evenings with jazz musicians and to see how much the public enjoyed my performances. It became clear in my head that I missed music creation. The very same day I left my office in March 2005, I had a studio appointment to record my first album.
* The Montreal Jazz Fest is the world's largest jazz festival with 2 Million visitors over 10 days.
Question: how did you imagine combining perfumes with music with your concept of ‘Concert Parfumé’?
In my mind, olfactive vibrations are like music vibrations sharing a common base made of body vibrations. I found a strong analogy between perfume and music compositions. Perfume has head, middle and base notes while music has high, medium, low notes. Without hesitation, most people and myself would categorise lemon as a high-pitched note. I had the idea to create the concept of a perfumed concert, composing both music and perfumes adapted for its different movements. During the concert, blotters are handed out at the right time for a full sensorial experience. By 2015, I had already created ‘SENTIRE’*, the second version of the first perfumed concert.
*Means both to hear and to smell in Italian
Question: and now you launched a perfume brand with ‘become who you are’ as a statement, what do you mean?
I’ll shock you head front by telling you that my brand was not meant to be a brand but an experimental project. A project prompted by my will to create something new in the perfume world. I wanted to go all the way to find the truth in a perfume creation. My aim was to create an authentic human connection away from superficial and fake intentions. The challenge was to innovate with both a new perfume emotion and a new perfume gesture.
Question: first explain to us why you chose the philosopher Nietzsche?
My mum is very fond of Nietzsche and in one of our discussions, I found a play on words ‘parfums de niche’ and ‘parfums de Nietzsche.’ Beyond the word game, I have studied the philosopher and found out that he was a musician, very fond of walks. Well, my mother and I enjoy a tradition of walking and the local town hall has even welcomed our initiative to entice people to walk together rather than going on their own*. The principle of fusion is key in my mind, between people, between music and perfume…
*There is a billboard at the entrance of the woods ‘Let’s walk together in Nogent-sur-Marne’ signed by Laurent
Question: Now is the time to ask how you translated the concept of ‘Übermensch’ into perfumes?
I took Nietzsche’s philosophical concept of two opposites and yet complementary thoughts into my perfume creation. My idea was to create a perfume which combined with another one resulted in something extremely powerful, that I translate into 1+1= 3. ‘Surhomme” is the outcome of Transparent and Black assembled together. Transparent, created by Anne Flipo, is sprinkled with positive energy and is all about lightness and elevation. Black, by Carlos Benaim, is full of strength and is a celebration of life. Both Anne and Carlos had worked on the Concert Parfumé, so it was them I immediately had in mind for Parfums de Nietzsche.
Contrasts complement each other leading to harmony
Question: how about the design of the perfume bottles which won a packaging award at Pentawards?
I designed on a piece of paper the two triangular fragrances bottles uniting into one as I was inspired by the ‘N’ of the Nespresso* logo. The contrast of black and white was obvious in my mind, as well as the two opposite and yet complementary perfume shapes. I can also draw a comparison with the white kimono and its black belt*, light and shadow, summer opposing winter, or intellect balancing life celebration.
*Laurent composes music for Nespresso and practices karate
Question: a plan for the future?
First, concerts and music compositions. Then, in June, a conference at the International Museum of Perfumery in Grasse with Chantal Jacquet* to mark the entry of the Parfums de Nietzsche bottle in the Museum. I am also working on two new perfume releases for Parfums de Nietzsche. So, the story goes on…
*French philosopher who wrote « the philosophy of smell »
Duality as a Key to Solve Life.
Laurent is both an artist and a philosopher. A thinker, a person who seeks, always looking for a new inspiration, on the chase of a new idea. He is full of curiosity and kindness. One feels his over-sensitivity. He does not show the path one needs to take to understand the meaning of life. He just opens the door with a harmony key. Well, that is plenty in my book. Thank you, Laurent.
‘Far Away’ extract from Laurent Assoulen last album « Black Blank » https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5Fw0fXR3AA
Let’s walk together in Nogent-sur-Marne: