Monday, 18 August 2014

The Architects Club

Different cultures have different rules as to what is considered an unsuitable topic for polite conversation around the dinner table. In Germany it's certainly politics, religion and money, in the UK it might be business and sex, I'm really not sure. But I would suggest to add architecture to the list. All art forms can be fascinating and/or devastating discussion topics, but it's architecture that brings out the strongest and often unexpected opinions. Most of my friends are fairly open minded when it comes to modern art or theatre, but throw the Shard or the Walkie Talkie (two new additions to the London skyline) at them and nothing is certain any more. Avid steel and glass defenders sulk stubbornly next to Traditionalists and Brutalism victims will shout down Bauhaus aficionados. People in the UK who yearn for the Good Old Times when buildings were pretty and tasteful, have not only the Prince of Wales, but most of the press on their side. I wonder how it really was in those Good Old Times...? Did Georgian house fronts with their lack of ornamental chichi win public opinion by storm or were they considered plain ugly? And what about Art Deco, the ever popular backdrop to thousands of Hercule Poirot film at first sight?

Carlos Huber, the creator of Arquiste perfumes and an architect himself, used the Art Deco interior of a hotel bar as starting point for his inspiration and brief to his perfumer. As always with his perfumes he tries to capture a very specific moment:

Fumoir at Claridges
"A group of architects gather for cocktails at Mayfair's smartest Art Deco smoking room. As they settle in the warm interior of dark woods, leather and velvet, London's bright young things burst in, frosted martinis in hand, surrounded by a cloud of laughter, white smoke and fine vanilla." 
The first time I smelled The Architects Club, I was in the company of Carlos at Bloom perfumery in London. Things bursting in with frosted Martinis is a pretty accurate description of what hit me: One of the best Gin notes that I've encountered in a perfume. Frozen glass and a bittersweet metallic freshness. Delicious and promising. On my skin the transformation from cold to cosy happens very fast though, almost immediately after the gin comes the smoke, polished wood and the leather. These elements throw a lively party for quite some time, and on different wearing days different notes became more or less dominant while the juniper notes wafted in and out for balance.  I liked it when the tobacco was stronger than the woods, because the latter isn't a favourite of mine and I don't wear those notes well. But overall I am impressed with the development of the scent. It doesn't just represent a bunch of  intense looking men discussing the finer points of modern architecture; enough frivolity and sensuality is thrown in to keep that party interesting. It doesn't really get raunchy or's a rather British affair, I find. Dinner jackets will end up with lipstick on the collar, but it doesn't go any further... 

Every party has to end at some time, and this one does with a sexy, sweaty vanilla note after a few hours. It then also becomes a skin scent, rather fittingly. I enjoyed the ride and the party, The Architects Club is an unusual one, and were it not for that woody middle section I would love it that much more. As it is, I find it more on the masculine side.  Like with all Arquiste fragrances you can let your imagination follow the initial idea but if you're not bothered, the perfume speaks for itself and stays  modern  throughout. 

My visual interpretation of The Architects Club by Arquiste

An opportunity to use an Art Deco theme for the visual was too tempting to let pass, so this one is more on the graphic side and the colour palette follows the muted tones of interiors of the period. 

How and where to wear:
Spray it on your nicest silk scarf and book yourself a table at the Air Street branch of Hawksmoore restaurants in London. Best steaks in town in beautiful Art Deco surroundings. Good martinis and if you must, lobster. 

And just because I can: Here a photo of a vanity table in colonial Art Deco style that would make the most perfect backdrop for a perfume collection and that I dream of ever since I saw it displayed in the luggage arrival hall of Chiang Mai airport. (Yes, weird place, I know)


  1. I am not familiar with this scent and only vaguely with the line, but I really enjoyed reading how it unfolded on your skin. What a clever olfactory recreation of that Art Deco gem of a place - and a moment. A favourite period of mine. I love talking about architecture as it happens - don't think there's a taboo in my circles. :)

  2. Next time we meet we should go to Eltham Palace. Have you been? It has a wonderful Art Deco interior and it's not far from me. (hint, hint)