Three years ago, the team at Aquaflor chose the historic Antinori Palace on Borgo Santa Croce in Florence as a home for their unique perfumery. The Renaissance building, carefully restored to its former glory, holds the company’s shop and laboratory. Aquaflor is one of the only perfumeries in the world to produce and sell its fragrances entirely in one location; Sileno Cheloni creates bespoke scents from his vast laboratory of over 1,400 raw materials. We spoke to the master perfumer about what makes Aquaflor so special.
‘Aquaflor is in a Renaissance palazzo, dating from the 1500s, in the heart of Florence near Piazza Santa Croce. When we were refurbishing the spaces, we felt a responsibility to honour these magnificent rooms; the custom ceiling lamps are by a local artisan, and we sourced all the antique furniture. One of the cabinets comes from a pharmacy that used to be in Piazza del Campo in the centre of Siena. We want everyone who visits us to feel that everything is in its right place, and appreciate our perfumes in a comfortable and elegant atmosphere.
‘Aquaflor is a rarity because we create and sell our perfumes directly to our clients, which gives us an enormous amount of freedom and inspiration. I always try to make myself available to meet people who want to share the extraordinary experience of creating artisanal perfumes.
‘As master perfumer, I create all our signature fragrances. On our team we also have Livia who takes care of every aspect of how our shop looks and feels: flowers, displays and a loving spirit. Elena and Virginia welcome our clients and assist in the shop. Monica is our laboratory technician and gives order to our production side. Sandro collaborates on our external sales clients and our webstore, and Caitlin is our PR and sales director.
‘Primarily we sell artisanal perfumes; this allows us to create a completely unique personalised perfume formula for those clients who want a bespoke option. We have a line of light perfumes, eaux de toilette and delicate hydrating waters. We also have our own lines of perfumed candles made with soy wax, soaps, bodycare products made from tomato extracts, and bath salts.
‘I think this work chose me. I love the ephemeral nature of working with essences to create new compositions. The possibilities are endless. I am always learning more about the art of creating perfumes, and often it is my encounters with my clients and the people who come to the shop from which I learn the most.’
Aquaflor, Via Borgo Santa Croce 6, 50122 Florence, +39 055 234 3471