Primordial perfume

15 : 05 : 2015 Illuminum : Antonino Cardillo : Anti-Materials

London – Step into a volcanic chamber of olfactory wonder for perfumer Illuminum’s latest pop-up store.

  • ‘The small grey grotto celebrates the eroticism concealed in the act of the construction’ – architect Antonino Cardillo
  • Mineral dust was responsible for some of the largest constructions of the late ancient era
Colour as a Narrative designed by Antonino Cardillo for Illuminum, London. Photography courtesy of Antonino Cardillo. Colour as a Narrative designed by Antonino Cardillo for Illuminum, London. Photography courtesy of Antonino Cardillo.
Colour as a Narrative designed by Antonino Cardillo for Illuminum, London. Photography courtesy of Antonino Cardillo. Colour as a Narrative designed by Antonino Cardillo for Illuminum, London. Photography courtesy of Antonino Cardillo.
Colour as a Narrative designed by Antonino Cardillo for Illuminum, London. Photography courtesy of Antonino Cardillo. Colour as a Narrative designed by Antonino Cardillo for Illuminum, London. Photography courtesy of Antonino Cardillo.
Colour as a Narrative designed by Antonino Cardillo for Illuminum, London. Photography courtesy of Antonino Cardillo. Colour as a Narrative designed by Antonino Cardillo for Illuminum, London. Photography courtesy of Antonino Cardillo.

Italian architect Antonino Cardillo has transformed a room inside one of Dover Street’s Georgian buildings into an ‘Apollonian and Dionysian grotto’, importing a rough finished plaster made using ash from Mount Vesuvius and putty lime. The contrast between the traditional exterior and primal interior is compelling, and the space combines some olfactory trends that have emerged since Melbourne’s Hyper-Natural exhibition in 2014. The space is designed to be dramatic and highly sensory, and the 37 fragrances displayed in hanging glass vials by artist Elliot Walker, reminiscent of Dior’s perfume testers, invite customers to experience them in a more intimate way. ‘Stripping away… encourages a more physical and intuitive experience of scent,’ Illuminum creative director Asakala Geraghty told Dezeen.

The Big Picture: Brands are exploring the beauty of the ephemeral and transient in their retail spaces. For more, read our Anti-Materials design direction, which also features Cardillo’s House of Dust.