Design, Interiors & Lifestyle Blog
Design, Interiors & Lifestyle Blog

Acqua di Parma Home collection.

I have been a fan of Acqua di Parma for many years now, so I was super excited when invited to the launch of their Home scent collection in Milan.

If you are new to Acqua di Parma, then let me give you a little introduction : It’s a scent that was conceived by Carlo Magnani, heir of one of Parma’s aristocratic families in 1916.

The first and original scent was called Colonia, a fresh citrus signature classic which up till today, has a loyal and growing fan base, amongst which are many famous A-listers.

Acqua di Parma has always been synonymous with luxury and sophistication. It’s one of those scents which will instantly transport you to the warmth of Italy. I stayed at the beautiful Principe di Savoia, part of the Dorchester Collection hotels in Milan.

Here’s a look at my elegant room, and unsurprisingly, there were Acqua di Parma products in the bathroom too.

I could seriously get used to this luxury lifestyle. Before the evening’s festivities, we went for a short walk to soak up the Milan vibe and have coffee. Can’t go to Italy and not try their delicious coffee right?

On our way to coffee, we stumbled upon Acqua di Parma’s store. I didn’t go in, as I would be back there the next day to interview Acqua di Parma’s CEO Laura Burdese and product development and innovation director Paola Paganini. Now, to the party. It was a spectacular event.

I just adore that yellow, the colour of Acqua di Parma’s packaging. The colour was a homage to the beautiful yellow houses of Parma, a city that I would love to visit one day. This imposing arch of peace was our view at the party venue in Dazi arco della pace.

It’s so impressive and steeped in history, just like the Acqua di Parma brand itself. The beautiful yet subtle scent from the new Home collection pervaded the event space and greeted us as we entered.

So, I can finally reveal that Acqua di Parma has launched 10 new scents for their Home range in candles and scent diffusers. Five of the new fragrances were developed to capture the typical moments of Italian living and they are called Luce di Colonia, Buongiorno, La Casa sul Lago, Caffè in Piazza and Oh, L’amore. The other 5 Home scents were inspired by Acqua di Parma’s Blu Mediterraneo line that recreates the feel of the Italian mediterranean. They are Arancia di Capri, Fico di Amalfi, Bergamotto di Calabria, Chinotto di Liguria and Mirto di Panarea. Acqua di Parma Home candle It was fascinating to talk to Paola Paganini, the product development and innovation director of Acqua di Parma Home range.

I learned that it could take up to at least 2 years from product conception to production with many fine tuning along the way.

She said the paper label took many trials, as they had to find the right quality paper that could withstand the heat from the glass.

The Luce di Colonia scented candle above is a light and sunny aroma that celebrates Acqua di Parma’s classic scent Colonia.

There are citrus notes of orange and lemon, combine with delicate floral and wood notes that evoke the sun drenched landscape of Italy.

They decided to keep the wax as natural as possible, so coloured the glass yellow instead.

The wax is a mixture of soy and paraffin and the glass moulded in the signature shape of the classic Colonia scent bottle. Acqua di Parma home These candles are called Buongiorno, a scent to reflect a sunny Italian morning.

Acqua di Parma describes it as the first rays of sunlight coming through the windows, as the breeze rustles against the light curtains.

It brings with it the scent of mint, lavender, Rosemary and newly cut grass.

Sounds divine right? In fact, this is one of my favourites.

The Buongiorno scent diffuser now sits proudly in my living room, injecting a dose of happiness each time I enter. This is Oh L’amore and it’s all about Italian passion and emotion, a part of Italy’s DNA.

I love its intense spicy notes of black pepper, cloves, and amber, just perfect for a romantic evening. Here’s the La Casa sul Lago scent diffuser, a scent to evoke an Italian villa sitting by the silent rippling waters of a lake.

I was keen to relive those happy memories from our family holiday at Lake Como, and its calm floral and musk fragrance didn’t disappoint. These Mirto di Panarea candles inspired by Acqua di Parma’s Blu Mediterraneo range, are a restorative blend of myrtle, basil, lemon and bergamot.

Its meditative scent calms and sooth, so perfect for burning in the bedroom. Here is the beautiful Laura Burdese, president and CEO of Acqua di Parma, addressing the launch party.

It was such an honour to meet and interview her.

Laura has worked in roles from L’Oreal, to Swatch and later as CEO of Calvin Klein watches and jewellery.

She joined Acqua di Parma in 2016, a return to her roots in the beauty industry.

She brought with her a fresh and innovative approach to Acqua di Parma.

I asked her why the Home scent market?

She told me that it was an opportunity to bring into people’s homes those unmistakable moments of Italian life.

I asked if the home scent market was any different to the beauty fragrance market?

Laura alluded to the Home scent market being a slightly different target market.

She said candles were more for gifting, whereas perfumes were a more personal choice.

I guess women who already love the Acqua di Parma perfumes would be the natural purchasers of the home scents.

However, those who don’t buy perfumes for themselves may be that untapped market with the home products.

She told me that a typical Home scent buyer is a woman, who loves to decorate her home.

Laura told me that contrary to the belief that the brand was male centric, buyers were mainly women. In fact users were a balanced 55% men and 45% women.

Finally, no interview ends without asking what’s next on the horizon.

Hot off the press, Laura told me that there will be an upcoming new Signature collection. It will come in stunning black and transparent bottles with a gold finish. Sounds amazing! I can’t wait to see that design element.

I was also excited to learn that they will also be adding 5 new Asian inspired scents such as Yuzu, Sakura, Vanille, Camellia and Osmanthus. ( Bearing in mind that the Chinese market for Acqua di Parma is huge and growing, this is a brilliant strategy). Anyway, the evening drew to an end after a fabulous Acqua di Parma inspired 3 course menu.

I had a brilliant time in Milan. It’s always wonderful to learn about what goes on behind the scenes.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this post on the Acqua di Parma Home range. I will be showing you more of the Acqua di Parma candles in my next post. This time you will be seeing it in my home setting.

Have a wonderful week ahead.

( All photography are by Geraldine Tan, editor of Little Big Bell. The Acqua di Parma Home launch event was part of a press trip).

I’ve just returned from Irish Whiskey maker METHOD AND MADNESS‘ Gin launch party in Cork, Ireland. It was a lovely diversion from my normal routine.

I’ve always wanted to see a distillery.

These buildings are part of Jameson’s distillery in Midleton. So here it is! METHOD AND MADNESS’ first Gin.

You may wonder where the name METHOD AND MADNESS came from.

It was actually inspired by the Shakespearean quote, ‘Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.’

The “METHOD” represented the tradition and expertise grounded in the generations at the Midleton Distillery and “MADNESS” reflected the curiosity and intrigue of the next generation. Meet Mickey’s Belly, Ireland’s oldest gin still, and where the gin was being made. The new bottle and label were designed by the talented duo Matthew Bolger and Emelie Lidström of M&E design in Sweden.

I had the pleasure of meeting and dining with them during this trip.  I was told the stripes in the label represented METHOD and signified the continuity and consistency of the master distillers, whilst the marble art represented MADNESS, an analogy to the apprentice’s experimentation and innovation. We even got to do our own marble painting at the event.

Here’s my creation. What do you think? The yellow of the bottle label reflected the Irish gorse flower in the gin, whilst the black represented the black lemons.

The black lemons are in fact sun dried limes. ( as seen in the photo)

Emelie told me that the teal was a leafy, earthy tone, that has been amplified from nature.

There were raised patterns on the sides of the bottle too, giving it a fun texture to handle. I’m sure you’re wondering what the gin tasted like right?

Well, it’s an eclectic fusion of 16 botanicals led by black lemon and Irish gorse flower – imparting notes of citrus and spice with subtle earthy undertones.

It was absolutely delicious when paired with Poacher’s tonic water, large ice cubes and finished off with a twist of lemon rind. During this press trip, we stayed at the beautiful Castle Martyr resort.

Check out the beautiful grounds. Here’s what my bedroom looked like. I hear this hotel was once a boarding school. It must  be wonderful to be surrounded by the countryside. METHOD AND MADNESS Gin should be available in Ireland now, and at most airport retail shops from July 2019.

Finally, If you have a chance, do give it a try. It’s absolutely delightful.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the post. Have a lovely day.

Urban cabin Shared and small space living in Beijing with MINI Living’s latest Urban Cabin.

I may have missed London Design Festival this year, but I saw plenty of amazing design in Beijing, China.

After seeing the MINI LIVING Urban Cabins in London and LA, I was so excited to see their new concept for a habitable space in Beijing.

The image above is the MINI Urban cabin from London Design Festival. You can see more images here. LA Design festival This is the beautiful MINI Living Cabin showcased at L.A Design week. small space living urbanisation Here’s MINI Living’s Urban Cabin in Beijing, a collaboration with local architect Sun Dayong from Penda.

Urbanisation and the lack of housing space is becoming a huge issue. As you can imagine with China’s fast growing population, this issue is ever more pressing.

The aim of the MINI LIVING Urban Cabin projects were to address this problem by developing concepts for small space living.

According to Sun Dayong, Beijing’s population had grown to 18,777 million in 2017. The theme for this Urban Cabin was “Reflect”, a  design inspired by China’s ‘Hutong’ courtyard living format.

A Hutong combines private and public living spaces.  The MINI LIVING Urban Cabin can connect with the outside world in its open format and close off when privacy is needed.  The bed can also be pushed out as an inviting day bed. A table can rotate outwards for a shared meal. I love how the space further plays on the word “reflect” in its design. One of my favourite features was the mirrored surfaces used in both its exterior and interior. Sun Dayong used the principle of a periscope to design the “courtyard like experience” room at the centre of the Urban Cabin.

Whilst sitting on a swing, you get to experience the perspectives of people who once lived in the Hutong, seeing the public go about their daily activities from their private residences.  Looking up at the mirrors you see the changing patterns of the outdoors being reflected back. small space living kitchen ideas Small space living can’t be easy, but MINI LIVING seem to have perfected the art of doing so.

Using the concepts of ‘Pull, Fold, Rotate and Stick’, they seem to have been able to create multi-purpose use furniture and fittings for flexible living in a space just 15 square meters in size.  An example here is the wall peg board and shelving that allow adaptation and storage in a space. Walking around the inhabitable space has made me reflect on how I see myself living in the next 10 years.

Would space be still an important issue for me or would I embrace social mobility and shared space living?

What sort of accommodation do you think you’ll be living in, in 10 years’ time? Is small space living for you? Finally, I have some exciting news. MINI LIVING will be revealing the first MINI LIVING building in Shanghai early next year. I can’t wait to see it and hopefully get to show you.

( All photography are by Little Big Bell. This is a paid partnership post with MINI Living but all opinions are my own. AD ).

Search the blog