Fresh Aeir: A Chat With the Tesla Alum Making the Impossible Burger of Fragrance

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Smell that? The future of fragrance is (almost) here.

Enter Aeir, a soon-to-launch imprint merging scent, eco-conscious innovation, and technology. Founded by Jana Bobosikova and Tesla alums Enrico Pietra and Rodrigo Caula, the brand subverts everything you might expect from luxury fragrance.

Aeir’s scents are entirely synthetic, eschewing natural extraction for sustainability purposes. Refillable bottles, sleek and minimal in their no-frills cylindrical form, are made of industrial aluminum. Aeir ID™, a $69 subscription, gives members access to a refill program and exclusive products. (Aeir ID™ is also integrated into Apple Wallet, meaning members can “tap to collect” special items — but more on that later.)

An unboxing of Aeir’s discovery set, quietly luxurious in all-white packaging, left me entirely impressed. Each scent is gorgeous on the blotter and blooms on the skin: Wet Stone has a moody, incense-y feel while Grand Rose transports me to country-side cottage. Suede has the arresting appeal of Le Labo’s Santal 33 and Olive, my favorite of the bunch, is a fresh fragrance with a bitter bite. All four fragrances come in capped aluminum tubes (death to loose sample atomizers!), ideal for on-the-go travel.

Aeir’s pristine discovery set exudes the sort of elegance that usually demands a sky-high price. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the entire thing retails for $69, a relatively accessible figure when it comes to luxury fragrance.

As Aeir gears up to launch online and at Neiman Marcus on September 29, Caula clued me in on the brand’s genesis, creating the Impossible Burger of fragrances, and his vision for “Universal Luxury.”

Alexandra Pauly: How did you, Enrico, and Jana meet, and what inspired each of you to branch into fragrance?

Rodrigo Caula: Enrico and I met while completing our Masters in Luxury Design for Craftsmanship at the École cantonale d’art de Lausanne in Switzerland. We formed our own luxury design agency, NUOVA, after leaving Tesla in 2018. We began providing creative direction, design services, and boutique manufacturing for a variety of brands including Rimowa, Cartier, YEEZY, F1, and Seed to name a few.

During my time at Tesla, our team basically lived in a factory of the future. Being next to SpaceX, the design campus was a playground of autonomous concept cars, self landing rockets, space grade and futuristic materials, and advanced robotic innovation. The principles for Aeir’s refillable packaging thesis were highly inspired by some of these experiences, among them sitting inside a SpaceX Dragon Capsule, the world’s first reusable rocket.

[Enrico and I] met Jana while collaborating on a client project. After several discussions with Jana regarding the concept [of Aeir] and its potential, we partnered with her and EPIC Brands to bring it to life.

AP: Can you explain what natural extraction is and why Aeir’s fragrances minimize this process?

RC: Natural extraction is the act of taking natural resources from the earth such as mined minerals or harvested fruits and plants — precious resources currently used to power the fragrance industry. Depending on the scale of the industry and manufacturing methods involved, these processes can be destructive to the environment, depleting resources through high intensity agricultural practices, contaminating water sources, or otherwise damaging the environment and displacing communities.

The easiest way to visualize our approach to creating bio-molecular scents is by using the principles of biomimicry. Palo Santo, for instance, a sacred tree prevalent in South America, takes 50 to 75 years to mature before it can be used for its therapeutic benefits. Overconsumption made the species endangered and nearly wiped it out. Our formulas eliminate the need to harvest the real thing — it’s quite similar to lab-created diamonds or even lab-grown meat like the Impossible Burger.

A botanical molecule is taken and duplicated endlessly to replicate the scent without an impact on agriculture, which drastically reduces carbon emissions. Aeir fragrances do not include any botanically derived extracted materials… We’ve also removed purified water from our formulas to further our commitment to reduce our carbon footprint. Every bit counts.

AP: Can you speak more about Aeir ID™ and how it works?

RC: Aeir ID™ is our trademarked Web3-ready membership platform which provides access to a full universe of products through Aeir’s custom-built app. We’ve designed the system to adapt to our community’s needs and reward them through loyalty-based hero drops in the fragrance, wellness, and fashion space.

Once you become a member of Aeir ID™, you gain access to our refill program among other exclusive products. You’ll be able to subscribe to various scents and receive them on a bi-monthly cadence. Each refill is able to be fully disassembled — an industry first in the luxury fragrance space — with its packaging optimized to weigh as little as possible. We call it “Aeir Mail” for that reason.

The Aeir Wallet is the hub where members can visualize their product subscriptions, collectibles, and unlockable items, all of which can be added into the subscription queue whenever they’d like. The queue can be paused at any time. We’ve also developed “Tap to Collect” functionality via NFC technology on fully biodegradable printed circuits, which unlocks products for loyal members through Aeir Mail, or during exclusive activations or events.

Through Aeir and our previous design practice, [Enrico] and I have been dedicated to approaching the art of luxury through a fully circular ethos. This approach stems from our passion for the preservation of ancient craft, culture, and ritual, translated through various codes of luxury we’ve had the honor of learning. Our philosophy imagines a new version of luxury interpreted for the present day… The vision for “Universal Luxury” aims to inspire the voices of a new generation and for those to come.

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