Darkness and Light


Fragrance maker Francis Kurkdjian on the ‘invisible part of creation’ he finds in the twilight hours…

In Issue 11





A ‘hole-and-corner’ is an old English term meaning a secret place: somewhere you go to escape the world, to be inspired and to contemplate and create. Where is your ‘hole-and-corner’?
I'm an early bird and a late sleeper. I love staring at the sunrise and the
darkness of the night. There is nothing more inspiring than that to me. The promise of the new day, with the hope and the magic of it.
The idea that a day has gone, that it will never come back again. The
feeling of living a special moment that will no longer exist anymore,
forever. It is a special feeling, where there is a little sadness because of
the past, the lost hope and excitement as tomorrow becomes today. I love this paradox of life.

Is it important to you to have somewhere to escape from the hustle and bustle of life?
I can be alone in the crowd, since the world of perfume is a silent world.
But I am a city dweller; I do up to four rounds of the globe each year
for my work. I love the loneliness during long flights, but I also love the
energy of my life in Paris. I am not inspired by nature: I need the
presence of people around me. However I also need some time
off to gather my inspiration. I then stay at home, I read, watch films, or I cook a lot, for my friends.

What do you like to listen to when you’re working?
I do not listen to music when I work. It distracts me too much. I like
working in a very quiet, calm and rather dark environment, with no sounds around. It helps me concentrate on my work and my perfumes. This is why I like early mornings and late nights.

What elements do you think make a perfect ‘hole-and-corner’?Perfection does not exist. It’s a perpetual quest if you want to master
your life. The only element you need is you – as a working, in-progress human being. The rest is superficial.

Is it private to you or do you let other people visit?
I like being alone. It helps me to reconnect with who I am deeply, with no artifice.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Never think you are satisfied, never think you are done.

Is reflection an important part of your work?
Of course. The tool for my work is not my nose but my brain, as any
other human being, any other artist who expresses himself! The creation
of a perfume is made in two stages. First there is the time of reflection
during which I think and imagine different fragrance accords in my mind. When I think I have a very clear idea of what to do, where to go with my emotions, I then begin the time of composition and go to the lab to create the formula. My approach to creation is more or less always the same. Inspiration is the invisible part of creation.