‘Aquaflor opened the doors to the first room of the atelier in 2009, on Via Borgo Santa Croce,’ says Nicola Bianchi, perfumer at the celebrated fragrance brand. ‘In the following years, the boutique perfumery began to grow, gradually at first, expanding into the adjacent rooms of the palazzo. Today, Aquaflor has a laboratory and production space, as well as a workshop area in the cellars, perfumer’s studio and a new concept store, Modus Vivendi.’
It is the store itself that truly sets Aquaflor apart from its competitors. ‘The store is a treasure waiting to be found,’ says Bianchi. ‘The small entrance on the street opens into a new world of fragrance, where precious raw materials and intriguing mixtures can be discovered. We are an artistic maison and we are proud of our artisanal approach to perfumery. From the selection of quality raw materials and ingredients for each of our perfumes to the production of every single bottle, all the way to the final packaging, we put extra care into every single detail. This commitment to craftsmanship creates a personal bond, a true relationship between our products and our customers.’
The boutique is deeply rooted in Florence’s glamorous past and it would be hard not to be impressed by the space and its surroundings. ‘The location is a special one,’ says Bianchi. ‘The store is situated in a historic Renaissance palazzo, a landmark commissioned by the Florentine Serristori family and realised by Giuliano da Sangallo, one of the best architects of the time. The store has a collection of antique furniture, mostly fine wooden apothecary cabinets, a collection of flasks and vials, and a baroque altarpiece from a church in the Chianti region.’
However, even given such an opulent location and surroundings, the art of perfumery is still the main draw at Aquaflor. ‘Everything is conducive to exploring the fragrances – the dimmed lights, the soft music. The experience continues with a visit to the perfumer’s studio, where we keep a notable collection of raw materials, and the laboratory, where our customers can see how we make our perfumes,’ Bianchi explains. ‘However, we also want to connect with our customers in a different and more personal way – we want them to understand how exciting, rewarding, and sometimes challenging, the process of creating a fragrance can be. So, we came up with a series of experiences. Here, you can “taste” perfumes, train your nose, and learn about composition. You can also take part in an interactive workshop on artistic perfumery and learn how to assemble your own fragrance. Finally, you can explore tailor-made perfumes with a one-on-one session with our perfumer and receive a special fragrance designed exclusively for you.’
The constant influence of the magical city that is home to Aquaflor is evident in every perfume, from concept to creation. ‘We are trying to infuse each creation – from perfumes to candles and soap – with a bit of our history and that of the city that surrounds us, along with our culture of craftsmanship and the passion for this work,’ says Bianchi. ‘I love everything about Florence and I take inspiration from the beautiful monuments and museums, the architecture, and especially the water and the colours of a sunset on the Arno river.’ Eagle-eyed customers will see these influences in everything from the shape of the bottles to the colour of the liquid itself.
If you are looking to take a little bit of that Florentine essence home with you then Bianchi has a suggestion. ‘If you are looking for a simple way to freshen up your home every day or when you invite guests into your space, the Aquaflor home fragrance is our signature diffuser,’ he explains. ‘It is the quintessential olfactory portrait of Florence. A delightful and stimulating scent, it will remind you of the Renaissance city and give you something to share with those who visit.’ It is undoubtedly a perfect souvenir from this exceptional Florentine store.
Aquaflor, Via Borgo Santa Croce 6, 50122 Florence, +39 055 234 3471