My college roommate once sent me a postcard from Petra, Jordan. I kept the postcard for years, until the glossy image of the ancient city and its Al Khazneh became creased and slightly frayed along the edges. At first I taped it to the wall, then I made it a bookmark, and finally I put it to rest in my junk drawer, almost to be forgotten; however, this morning when I sprayed the gorgeous Odin 04 PETRANA, the image of the postcard came rushing back. I remembered my friend’s words on the flip side of the card, and they were not the usual “wish you were here,” rather she wrote about her challenges at the time, and as I recall my friend always took a challenge with a bit of sweetness and a hearty laugh. PETRANA is a nuanced fragrance that is centered on Iris. The root of this delicate flower has always been difficult for me to detect in fragrances, until now. The powdery floral note is supported on top by an herbaceous quality and greenness. The fragrance deepens with a spicy yet oh so pretty Pink Pepper note. Adding to the depth is a dried sweetness that smells like raisins, perhaps that’s the Orris root pulling and working its magic with Cassis. As it settles on the skin the fragrance allows me to imagine the flowers growing in the earthiness and warmth of the dry dessert. With the woody floral PETRANA in the air I can easily envision a faraway land, but right here and now I am in NYC, and if you are in NYC too, for a limited time you can experience the entire ODIN line 01 through 07 (sans 05, wink, wink) at their pop-up shop on 330 E. 11 Street in New York City.
It was just last week that I woke up thinking, oh no, I missed the Odin pop-up shop. I hate thinking that I’ve missed something that’s about to vanish forever. So once I found out that I wasn’t too late (and neither are you-it’s been extended until Wednesday June 20), the weather and my mood began to change. When I arrived at the East Village pop-up it appeared that they had gone fishin’ (really just back in 5) so I decided to take a look next door in the boutique. Inside I was able to smell the entire line, my preamble to the pop-up. I was pleasantly impressed with the friendly, relaxed neighborhood vibe of the store and staff, and I was about to check back at the pop-up to see if it was open, when I saw a smiling face. Levan was my (kind of/sort of) personal pop-up shop guide. He unlocked the door, and led me into a room filled with seemingly hundreds of white cast perfume bottles. At first, the space came off as kind of cold and a little confusing, but as I lingered it transformed into an intimate white wave of warmth and calm, a kind of perfume Mecca. The mirrored back wall and the way it mixed with the structure created a playful maze-like feeling. Not only did the mirror make me feel like part of the architecture, it also allowed the outside world, the green trees, daylight, and people passing by to mingle with the structure, a poignant interface. I stayed in the shop long enough to notice the ebb and flow of the pop-up. Levan’s friend popped-in to say hey and quickly talk about a messy supermodel’s apartment he encountered, and we all had a laugh as Levan described a blog post he read that likened Odin No. 7 to the actor Michael Fassbender’s underarm, perfect. Some folks came in and asked politely if they could smell. Others came in and took photos with out smelling a thing. We smelled the entire line together, and as Levan and I smelled No. 6 together, he told me at length how it reminded him ofa walk in in the Georgian (Eurasia) forest, complete with a slight smell of mushroom and abundance of oak moss, and I imagined the sunshine beating down on the dampness of the forest. We were instantly transported while standing together with blotter in-hand.
My pop-up experience seemed to extend into the weekend, as serendipity paid a visit. I saw a cousin that I hadn’t seen in a while and it turned out that his friend was the co-founder of Snarkitecture as well as the pop-up’s Architect, Alex Mustonen.
Valerie Vitale: In your own words can you describe what a pop-up shop is?
Alex Mustonen: For us the idea of the pop-up is an opportunity to create a shop that is begins with a focus on the experience of a visitor and how we can make the existing architecture of a retail space perform in a way that is unexpected. The other programmatic elements develop from this to create a space that is both functional and memorable.
VV: How did this pop-up come to be, did Snarkitecture approach Odin or vice versa? Can you speak about the conception?
AM: We met the owners of Odin (Eddy and Paul) through Eddy's brother, Richard Chai – a friend and a designer that we have collaborated with in the past. We were excited to work with them – Odin is one of my favorite stores in New York.
VV: What's the name of the material the bottles are made out of…can you talk about the process of making the bottle or the balloon like bubble the perfumes sit on–not too technical ;-)
AM: The bottles and display forms are cast from white gypsum cement, also known as Hydrocal. The replica bottles were made from a direct cast of the actual Odin fragrance bottle – you can actually read the screenprinted label on the replicas.
VV: What was your vision for the space visually, and the atmosphere you wanted to create–as an architect and for the object; the perfume?
AM: One of the primary motivations for the Odin project was their product. The fragrances and candles are packaged in these beautiful, custom glass containers and matte boxes that use a black on black motif in a range of textures. We responded by casting replicas of their bottle in matte white gypsum cement, almost like a ghost or mirror of their product.
VV: Do you wear an Odin fragrance, if so which one?
AM: I do, I have been wearing 06 which I like a lot.
My thanks to Alex for taking the time to answer my questions and if you are in the New York City area the pop-up will be open until June 20, 2012 at 330 E. 11 St in the East Village.
–Valerie Vitale of Soliflore Notes, Monthly Contibutor