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July 29 2014

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Bursting Bubbles With Francis Kurkdjian

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Blowing bubbles tends to be an activity reserved for easily amused children, but Francis Kurkdjian is looking to change all that. As far as the renowned nose is concerned, creating the delicate floating orbs is an ideal form of scentsory perception. Kurkdjian, who opened his own perfume house equipped with a laboratory-style atelier on Rue d’Alger in Paris last fall, is a scent showman whose olfactory installations use uncommon forms of fragrance to create a narrative. In 2006, for example, he spiked the fountains of Versailles with the aroma of metallic roses, and similarly rose-tinged bubbles currently provide an escort to the manicured gardens of the French Pavilion at Shanghai’s World Expo. For Paris’ Nuit des Musées (Museum Night), a late-night open house at museums across the City of Light this past Saturday, Kurkdjian took over the Grand Palais’ huge 145,313-square-foot nave for his NoctamBulle, a French garden-inspired evening with tunes from sound artist Béatrice Ardisson. The perfumer positioned 100 C17SFX bubble machines along the balcony, and an entirely transfixed public indulged in whiffs of cut grass, lily of the valley, pear, mint, jasmine, and Kurkdjian’s favorite note, orange blossom, as they drifted across the airy space. Traces of honey could also be detected by the discerning sniffer—a personal touch from Kurkdjian to celebrate the unique occasion. “There are beehives on the roof of this building, which produce a small Grand Palais supply of honey,” the French perfumer revealed. Ah, the sweet smell of success.

Photo: Collection Grand Palais, Fran├žois Tomasi

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