FRAMA is a multi-disciplinary studio which takes a minimal and organic approach to design, from furniture to hair care. “We connect much better with our surroundings if we understand them. It is a circular process: healthy environments create healthy people and the other way around.” says Niels Strøyer Christophersen, the studio’s founder and art director. This symbiotic relationship appears to be a guiding force behind the company’s identity, one that celebrates the use of natural materials, simplicity and mindful production.
Aligning with its intrinsic principles, FRAMA’s scent developer, Lena Norling, joined the venture with a desire to focus on natural oils. Lena believes the future of the industry lies in developing more green and sustainable solutions. Sometimes, though it may seem counter-intuitive, this means looking back in order to move forward. Norling spent her childhood summers learning the “old craft” from her grandmother, collecting elements/ingredients from her surroundings to capture their essence. A heritage she continues to honor, by favoring a “slow, pure and intuitive” approach to perfume making.
The latest scent to come from this collaboration is Komorebi. A sample size of the fragrance was pulled from a tote and handed to me, like a precious totem, across the table of a Parisian restaurant. A careful exchange performed under the watchful eye of Saucisse (“Sausage”), the wiry haired dachshund and mascot of this 10th arrondissement establishment.
I learn that the name Komorebi refers to the Japanese notion of sunlight filtered, as if through leaves in a forest. And from the first spritz, I can see how FRAMA’s scent translates this soft glow, by enveloping the skin in a gentle floral nostalgia. With notes of Yuzu, Osmanthus, Jasmine, and Cypress, it’s subtle and comforting. On another occasion, I even successfully used it to curtail a car-trouble-induced anxiety attack on DTLA’s 110.
I did not ask if there was any data (besides my own) on Komorebi’s therapeutic uses. But when I did inquire about influences, I was told they are stratified, much like the perfumes’ notes: “each scent is a unique story that consists of many layers, inspirations, and experiences. The most important is to create a connection between a scent and its user”, says Niels. There is emphasis on the malleability of the experience of scent, the spectrum of evocations. I intuitively understand that is inevitable and exciting. In fact, the blank page which illustrates the komorebi scent on their website appears to me now as an invitation to write our own story. In a world cluttered by viral trends and intrusive marketing, that blank slate seems generous and soothing. Strøyer Christophersen adds “we give a lot of freedom to the materials as they can stay pure and raw; just the way they exist.”.
Based in Copenhagen, they’ve set up shop in a historic apothecary, St. Pauls Apotek, a space which evolves and hosts different collaborations and events. The studio’s creations seem heavily influenced by tradition, but their approach is neither stagnant, nor era-blind. There is a familiar Danish utilitarian quality, but the result is not devoid of poetry. Deducing from this and from our interview, I suspect FRAMA offers a canvas rather than a blueprint for living. Much like its latest scent, there is an intangible quality to the FRAMA universe that makes it seductive, that makes you want to lean in closer. If anything, Komorebi reminds us that simple is sexy.