An exciting new brand reached Aus Liebe zum Duft a few weeks ago from the Czech capital Prague: Pigmentarium inspires us not only with perfumes, but also with room fragrances in the form of incense sticks and matching holders that look like art objects. The founder of the brand is Tomáš Ric, whom I was lucky enough to win over for an interview, and who presents us some exciting facts about the first Czech niche fragrance label in the following. So, let’s dive into the extraordinary and exciting world of Pigmentarium together!
Welcome to the Duft-Tagebuch: Tomáš Ric! 😊
Dear Tomáš, can you tell us something about your background and how you came into the world of perfumes?
I’ve always vibed with the art scene. When I made the move to Prague, I was torn between diving into economics or immersing myself in photography. Ultimately, my pragmatic side won, but my creative spirit persisted. When I stumbled upon the world of niche perfumery, I was blown away by how these two realms could vibe together so seamlessly.
Please introduce your brand Pigmentarium to our readers. What values does the label embody?
Much of Pigmentarium’s inspiration stems from the vibrant cultural heritage of Prague, a city steeped in richness. My aspiration and dream have always been to craft something deeply rooted in the local narrative. The joy I feel knowing that the world recognizes and appreciates our approach is beyond words. In terms of core values, transparency is non-negotiable. In terms of core values, transparency is non-negotiable. Personally knowing every supplier and honoring their craftsmanship is paramount.
The same level of closeness and appreciation extends to our clients—I strive for that connection. Social and ecological responsibility are not accolades but essential elements ingrained in our company’s DNA. Artistic vision holds immense importance, not just within our campaigns but also in the profound narrative that shapes our internal communication.
Where does the name Pigmentarium come from?
The name “Pigmentarium” finds its roots in Latin, alluding to colours. Personally, I’m drawn to a fusion of modernity and simplicity, seasoned with a touch of drama. The Pigmentarium flacons epitomize this essence—uncomplicated, making them convenient for both your purse and display on shelves. The design is elegantly straightforward with bold lettering, allowing the magic to reside within the liquid. Each fragrance is intricately linked to a specific colour; for instance, our inaugural fragrance, Ad Libitum, embodies a vivid yellow, while Genesis evokes the lush green of fresh leaves.
What makes Pigmentarium and the brand’s fragrances so special in your eyes?
The Pigmentarium fragrances are artistic solitaires. No marketing research has ever preceded the creation of our fragrances, nor will it in the future. Our mission is to narrate a story, to allow our customers to immerse themselves in the depths of emotions. We aspire for them to become an integral part of Pigmentarium’s artistic narrative.
Pigmentarium is the first Czech niche fragrance label. What is the reaction of Czechs to brand and fragrances?
Incredibly, Pigmentarium owes its journey to the international market to the unwavering support of Czech customers. In the initial year, their purchases were driven by a desire to champion a local brand. However, the ultimate validation came when they continued to embrace Pigmentarium not just for its locality but for its exceptional quality—on par with the finest niche perfumes worldwide. This marked a significant milestone for me.
How would you describe the perfume market in the Czech Republic? Do people there like perfumes and especially niche fragrances?
The perfume market, at its core, maintains a certain level of simplicity. The awareness of niche perfumery remains relatively low. From my perspective, we’re still in the process of realizing that a renowned brand logo on a bottle doesn’t necessarily equate to quality. However, the tides are shifting. If they weren’t, we wouldn’t have even been able to embark on this journey, would we? For us, finding the right balance in marketing communication is a significant challenge. We must tread the fine line between being too artistic and ensuring that our message resonates with a broader audience.
To what extent are the brand and fragrances inspired by the cultural heritage of Prague at the beginning of the 20th century and by Prague itself, as stated in the press release for Pigmentarium?
Pigmentarium owes its essence to Prague without a doubt. Take, for instance, the Ad Libitum fragrance—a tribute to Prague itself. It embodies a classical chypre scent adorned with nostalgic oakmoss notes, reminiscent of strolling through the enchanting lanes of Malá Strana near the Vltava river. However, it’s infused with a modern twist using aldehydes, and a sharp bergamot underlines the composition, creating a perfect blend that echoes the mystical Prague of old intertwined with the contemporary architecture of the 1920s.
Another case in point is the Erotikon fragrance, drawing inspiration from the film of the same name by Gustav Machatý. The film was groundbreaking, pushing the boundaries of eroticism at the time. We contemplated how a perfume could capture universal seduction – a scent that could enthrall everyone. Now, I’m certain you can unravel the plot within the fragrance itself.
There are not only perfumes from Pigmentarium, but also room scents in the form of incense sticks and matching holders, which alone look like objects of art. Usually niche fragrance labels are more known for scented candles, diffusers and room sprays, how did you come up with the incense sticks?
I enjoy the art of reimagining age-old traditions in a contemporary light. Incense, a practice steeped in history and primarily associated with religious rituals, has always carried a deeply esoteric perception. My vision was to take this ancient practice and infuse it with an entirely fresh narrative – a representation of modern living, resonating within the artistic spaces of flats across the globe, from New York to Shanghai.
The journey began during my personal sojourn to Sri Lanka, where I was awe-struck by the unparalleled quality of the incense I encountered. Upon returning to Prague, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic served as a poignant reminder of the freedom and liberation experienced during those travels. It was this essence of freedom that I desired to encapsulate and offer in the form of a fragrance.
Tell us a little bit about the beautiful incense holders, please?
The incense holders, a crucial element of Pigmentarium, are meticulously crafted in the quaint Moravian town of Mikulov, a place I hold dear, not only for its delightful wines but for its inspiring atmosphere. It was there that I had the pleasure of meeting Daniel Pirš, an exceptional artist responsible for bringing these holders to life. Daniel’s work is nothing short of extraordinary, as he masterfully reshapes and redefines everyday objects, transcending their conventional forms.
When we delved into conceptualizing the incense holders and altars, there was no specific blueprint in my mind. Our discussions revolved around values, the essence of Pigmentarium, and understanding Daniel Pirš as an artist. In this creative exchange, Daniel proposed two concepts – both embodying a sense of ethereal softness, akin to air trapped within a balloon. These designs ingeniously accommodate incense sticks, and upon insertion, the material gracefully forms a wave or a delicate bubble, a testament to the harmony of functionality and aesthetic appeal. Crafted from porcelain and adorned with a colored metallic finish, these pieces stand as a testament to the beauty of Daniel’s artistic vision.
How do you approach the development of the fragrances?
It all commences with a spark of creative inspiration. Anything can serve as a wellspring, be it art, a poignant moment, or a cherished memory. From this initial idea, I carefully gauge its alignment with the ethos of Pigmentarium. Just like an artist selecting the perfect palette to set the tone, we delve into discussions about ingredients – exploring their essence, moods, effects, and sourcing methods. Of course, their combination.
During the creative process, we craft several perfume proposals, each an artistic interpretation of the idea. The ultimate litmus test lies in comparing these fragrances with the original concept. Only when the fragrance harmoniously aligns with the essence of the idea and maintains the highest standard of quality can we greenlight its launch.
And do you already have certain scents in mind?
As for ingredients, I hold no rigid requirements, but I do possess a fondness for certain elements like musk, olibanum, rose, and mandarin. However, there is no ingredient I outright dislike; rather, I hold preferences for some while appreciating the diverse qualities each brings to the olfactory palette.
Is there a raw material that particularly inspires you at the moment?
Absolutely, olibanum holds a special place in my olfactory palette – three facets of it, to be precise. Olibanum oil, prized for its invigorating freshness, adds a lively dimension to our fragrances. The resinoid variation, on the other hand, imparts a serene quality, contributing to a sense of calmness within the blend. However, the olibanum pyro generated variant steals the spotlight, exuding a captivating essence reminiscent of lightly charred wood intermingled with the revered frankincense from ancient church rituals. It’s a truly beautiful and evocative element that we cherish incorporating into our fragrances.
When you think of your childhood, is there a particular scent that comes to mind?
A smell of my grandmother’s greenhouse, a moment when I bit into a freshly picked tomato.
What can we expect from Pigmentarium in the future?
Dear Tomáš, thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions.